The start of the 2018-19 season is upon us. In a couple of weeks our collegiate athletes will be returning to campus for the start of a new academic and athletic school year. I am fortunate to have five freshmen throwers that will be continuing on with their throwing careers at Nazareth College. With a returning sophomore, we will have a total of six throwers.
A couple of weeks ago I sent them an email with an attached letter. As they are probably aware of by now, I tend to get long winded in my emails. My goal throughout the summer was to send them at least one email a week. Rather than send them another email, I wrote them a letter. In my letter, I introduced myself and the program that they are becoming a part of. I am beginning my sixth season at Nazareth. This is the most excited I’ve been since I started! Now, you are probably thinking that I have said that about every team. Each team is different. Different personalities. Different experiences. Different expectations.
I expressed my sincerest thoughts about them making the decision to join our team and how happy I am that they will throwing in a Nazareth jersey this season. In my letter, I also asked them to think about a couple of things. I asked them to think about the future. I asked them where they wanted to be at the conclusion of the throwing careers at Nazareth. We will be working backwards from their far-out visions for themselves and where they see themselves in the future. I asked them the following questions, adapted from one of my favorite coaches, Lou Holtz:
After I sent them the email, I heard back from all six throwers in less than an hour. Early on I learned a couple of things about my throwers. First, they promptly read their email. Second, they each individually sent me a text message telling me they received my email. Lastly, they asked questions about the letter. One of them sent me this text message.
I believe it is important that coaches stay in frequent communication with their athletes over the summer. Especially with incoming freshmen, I make it a point to reach out to them after their high school season is over to see if they have any specific questions about our program. I am usually able to answer questions during their recruiting visits, however somethings do tend to come up during the summer. I typically send them a text message a week just to check in and see how things are going. I find it is easier to answer any questions they may have about programming and throwing at the collegiate level while taking classes during the summer when they don’t have to worry about taking finals and graduating.
How often to do you stay in contact with your athletes over the summer? Do you engage them in conversation not related to throwing? Do your athletes respond to your methods of communication? What do you discuss?
As always, thanks for reading ~ Charles
Dr. Charles Infurna
Charles Infurna, Ed.D., is the owner and lead coach of Forza Athletics Track Club. Dr. Infurna has coached National Record Holders, National Champions, All-Americans, and Conference Champions at the Post-Collegiate, Collegiate, and High School level.