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Can A Coach Run A Booster Club?

Can A Coach Run A Booster Club?

Booster club coaches are extremely important to the dynamic of a booster club, but having a coach run a booster club on their own without the clear line of separation between operations and coaching can cause brutal riffs in the working environment of athletic booster clubs. This article will discuss having a coach run a booster club and what methods can be employed so those clear roles can be defined to create a well-managed booster club. We will address what each role entails, what the coaches and operations personnel need to do to ensure the booster club’s success, and how to establish and maintain communication lines. Finally, we will address how to repair them if they are damaged.

Vollleyball coach talking to team during a match.

Can A Coach Run A Booster Club?

A booster club runs and works for those who engage with it; having a coach run a booster club deters from that. Many coaches do take the reins and run the club themselves, believing that the club works for them. That is not true; it is a partner, not an employee of the activity. A coach is a partner of a sports booster club. The coach works together with both the booster club and school administration to ensure the best results for the activity’s success. That is not to say the coach cannot run a booster club, but think of it like a basketball team, and the coach is both coach and point guard. A point guard cannot both be a player/teammate and a coach to other players. Just like players on a team need their coach to be a coach and not a player, a booster club needs the coach to be a partner and not running the organization. There need to be clear lines of who runs the club and who is a partner of it.


Soccer coach and players

Club Operations and Management

A good booster club needs its operations and management to function at its highest capacity to continually grow and make an impact. The coach engages with the club, the teams, and the activities that are happening. They are a partner to the booster club to ensure the club is focused on supporting the sport or activity in the best possible way. Operations teams run day-to-day operations of the club itself such as managing volunteers, organizing fundraising, promoting the club and activity, coordinating with coaches and school administration, and general management that help the booster club run efficiently and effectively. The coach and club management are two gears of the same machine and they need to work efficiently and effortlessly so that the club is functioning at an optimal level. An operations team works with the booster club coach and coaching staff as partners for the benefit of the activity, the students, and the school–one does not work for the other, but instead, together ensure the success of the club’s positive impact on the sport or activity.


Situation where Coach Run A Booster Club for the football team

How To Prevent Having A Coach Run A Booster Club

To ensure that you do not have a coach run a booster club, the operations/management team needs to set clear lines separating the booster club operations and the school activity coaches. To do that, you need to define roles clearly and early. The coaches’ job in relation to the booster club, is to engage with club strategy to provide input and help guide it and also engage in club activities as needed. The operations team is in charge of the actual running of the booster club day to day, its fundraising activities and relationships. A coach has no place in the day-to-day operations of the club itself.  If a situation arises where a coach inserts themselves into the day to day operations, or is in a leadership position within the club, there are steps you can take. The first step should be booster club leadership directly addressing the issue with the coach. As long as the roles of the club management and coach have been clearly defined, this should be a simple conversation. However, in some cases, there is pushback by the coach when issues of overreach occur. Because the booster club is also a partner of the school / school administration, club management can involve the school administration or athletic director as a third-party mediator. Because the coach works for the school and the school leadership has an interest in the booster club operating as efficiently as possible, in most cases the school would be able to leverage their position to ensure that the right decision is made for all parties.

Maintaining boundaries is a critical building block for booster clubs in relation to the activity and school. But how does one establish them, and how does one mend them if they are broken. It takes patience and communication, operations/management teams and being firm but understanding, and being open and effective communicators.


Booster club supporting local baseball team and coach.

How To Maintaining Relationships

We talked about establishing boundaries early, but how does one approach that. If you are running the operations/management of a booster club, this is done by explicitly telling the coaches what they can and cannot do. You need to be firm but respectful and explain to them that they are working with you and the club. Their priority is the activity or team in question, but they also have a role with the booster club as a partner which should be fostered. When and if a coach does break these boundaries, you need to be firm, keep these dialogue channels open between the club and the coach. Tell the coaches that you appreciate their enthusiasm for the club and operations, but that is not something they need to concern themselves with. The coaches are not club leadership, but instead are more of a knowledge consultant and need to be treated as such. Instead, tell them that they are part of the team that you need to handle, that you cannot expect them to do their job well if they are trying to do a job that is not related to the activity or the teams. Reiterate to them why they are essential to the booster club in their way. Keep these communication lines open, constantly point out to the coach or coaches what a great job they are doing in their role. This reminds them of where they are the most effective and how you are doing your job operating and managing the club to be the most effective at their role.


Soccer coach directing the team

A Cohesive Booster Club

Ensuring clear boundaries for booster club management and athletic coaches is extremely important if not the most vital part of the club’s foundation. In fact, preventing a coach from running a booster club can actually ensure the booster club’s longevity. Instead, foster club management and the coach relationship as players on the same team – the team players being the school, the sport, and the booster club.

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March 23, 2021 / by / in

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