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4 Key Steps to Plan and Prepare for Success

Prepare for SuccessEvery so often we need to take some time to get ourselves re-charged.  We all need to unplug for some time and enjoy time with the people who are most important in your life. A little time away is good for the soul, and for me, I am reminded why I love my profession.  Now I am back and ready to get rolling.  The season is upon us and for the next 8 months, I am coaching for success.

Success doesn’t happen by accident. Success takes time, work, and most importantly a plan.  As coaches, we cannot expect to wing it and
get results.  The good ones can get by for a short run with this approach, but a haphazard approach to coaching is no way to achieve long-term success.  Have you been thinking about your upcoming season, or your latest project at work?  We all want to be successful in our next challenge, but do we really understand what it takes to get there?  We must plan for success in our preparation for success.  I have outlined 4 key steps to get you to the top of the mountain.


Vision is the first step in the planning and preparation process.  Without vision, how do you know how to define success?  In an ESPY speech in his final days, Jim Valvano asked the question, “How do you get from where you are to where you want to be?”  This is the essence of leadership.  Our job as leaders is to guide a group of people towards a common goal.  It is our job as leaders to provide the road map to our group.  Your vision must be clear, and you must articulate this vision clearly.  Having a vision and getting your group to understand your vision are two very different animals.  Your ability to frame your vision and get everyone on the same page will play a major factor in your success.

Goal Setting

As you look for ways to articulate your vision, goal setting can help you get from point A to point B.  While everyone may not be able to see your big picture, chopping off little pieces and meeting certain goals can pay big dividends to reaching success.  There is much to read bout goal setting, but there are really only two types of goals.

  • Short Term – a goal that can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.
  • Long Term – an accumulation of short-term goals that result in bigger achievements

You can apply these goals to many different aspects of team or personal goals.  In many cases, these goals go hand in hand.  An accumulation of personal goals typically result in a team achievement.  As the team continues to chip away at smaller team achievements, the cumulative effect results in long-term success.

Choosing goals can require a great deal of thought.  We must find a balance between challenging ourselves and asking for unrealistic results.  It doesn’t do anyone any good to meet goals without some work and some adversity; however, there are also insurmountable tasks.  A person must have the skill set necessary to meet certain expectations.


Do you have a development plan?  Do you know how you are going to build the skills necessary to achieve your goals?  I am not just talking about skill development.  I am also talking about team development.  I do believe that you need a certain level of skill to achieve certain levels of success.  I also believe that team trumps skill, and if you do not have the right plan for developing a team, at some point, you will hit an obstacle that you cannot seem to avoid.  Without a positive team culture, you cannot succeed if you are looking for long-term success.  However, a team with less skill can find a way to persevere and achieve success because in a positive team environment, the sum is greater than the parts.

So I ask again, do you have a plan?  Have you taken the time to map out your season?  Have you laid out the benchmarks for the year?  Have you decided how you will not only develop the individual, but also develop the team?  This is a tireless process that takes a great deal of time and energy during the time when you most want to get away from the game.


The most disheartening part of the process is the part that nobody is willing to tell you.  After all of the work and the planning, the thing I have learned about laying out plans is this…Be prepared to change the plan.

No successful plan works the way it was intended.  The mistake most leaders make is that they are unwilling to change.  If your plan is not working, then you have to switch gears.  The problem most leaders have is that they are stubborn  and have egos.  They are unwilling to give up on an idea that they developed because changing plans is admitting that they were wrong.  The good leaders are the one who are willing to recognize their mistakes and move on in a different directions.  There are many paths to the finish line.  It is not about which path you took but about the journey with your group.



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About Coach Printz

Jamie Printz has been a full time teacher/coach for over 20 years. Although the majority of his time is dedicated to ice hockey, he also coaches lacrosse and soccer. Coach Printz has had the pleasure of watching over 200 of his athletes move on to play collegiate sports. He works as a skills coach for local youth organizations, works in coaching education and player development at the state level, and is a parent of two young daughters who are beginning their journeys in the world of youth sport.
The 365 Coach © 2015
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