December 28, 2012
Coaches will often convey to their teams a variation of this theme: “If we’re not moving forward, we’re falling behind.” And with such immediate feedback – the next contest – coaches can measure their team’s progress quite easily. Progress is harder to measure for the organizations that serve and support coaches and athletes.
If we are doing our jobs well, we will have both an “inside game” and an “outside game.” We will create our own opportunities to improve our services and we will be alert to opportunities to improve ourselves when they are handed to us or forced upon us from outside sources. Both types of change can be positive.
Change from inside has the benefit of institutional knowledge. This change can be informed, measured and careful to avoid unintended consequences that hurt more than help customers.
Change from outside can be less rational but also less restrained by history and culture. It can be more disruptive in a positive sense, perhaps more innovative in origin and more expansive in impact.
It’s my sense that, as the calendar turns from 2012 to 2013, the MHSAA is at the merging of two lanes of traffic – an inside lane of change combining with an outside lane change – which will modify some services and move them forward at unprecedented speeds during the new year and the next.
This has been obvious as we have partnered with ArbiterSports to prepare the ArbiterGame scheduling software for our member schools. Hard work internally that’s about to show results to schools and their publics.
This may become obvious as we expand our schedule of inexpensive camps for inexperienced officials. This could be an antecedent to additional training requirements for MHSAA tournament officials. The public expects better, and we can do better.
This may also become obvious as we expand offerings and then add requirements for coaching education focused on maximizing good health and minimizing risk. There is a gathering parade of experts and evidence advocating for much more training for many more coaches; and we must find our way to the head of that column.