Indianapolis, Ind. - Head Coach Sean Brennan of the University of Mount Olive men's soccer team was invited to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the 2019 NCAA Identity Workshop and shared his experiences from the workshop.
While at the three-day workshop, coaches from programs across the country discussed communication, building trust, revenue-generating and alumni relations, risk management and social media, what it means to be a coach and community engagement.
In the first section, the coaches received a lecture about communication, relationship building with players, showing empathy, managing egos and discussing core emotions coaches experience during a season.
"I really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss ideas on better ways to communicate with our athletes and build better relationships with our players. Trust is an amazing tool that is required with players and coaches which takes time and effort," said Brennan.
"We also had an amazing lecture on how to manage players in today's society and what they need from us as coaches. It was a very interactive lecture that I feel was very beneficial and is education that I can bring back to our other coaches in the athletic department."
Section two was another lecture dealing with building trust, what is controllable during your season, as well as the different types of athletes on your team and how to give each one of them what they need.
"This was a fantastic open discussion about controlling what you can control. As coaches, we are designed to try and manage everything to help our athletes grow and develop, but sometimes that just isn't realistic. We were able to take a step back and really analyze what we can truly control in our profession," said Brennan.
The third session covered revenue generation, building alumni relationships and the challenges of fundraising for college programs.
"I was able to learn some great ideas in regards to fundraising, but also the difficulties and challenges that come with that responsibility."
"It was great to hear that many of the coaches in the room also faced the same challenges but also shared successful ways to help build relationships with their alumni," continued Brennan.
Risk management, kneeling during the National Anthem and social media oversite were the topics covered in the fourth breakout section of the workshop.
"This lecture was great to be apart of as we discussed a lot of social issues that are current in athletics today. We discussed what is allowed by law during matches, what athletes rights are when representing the University and ways to help manage our athletes during these changing times in our country."
In the next-to-last session, the participants discussed to them what it means to be a coach.
"I really loved listening to this lecture as it was all about why we coach. The reason why we put in these long hours, spend nights away from our families and grind the way we do is simply for the athletes," said Brennan.
"We are here to see the justification on their faces when we achieve success and we are here to catch them when they fall. And hopefully, when it's all said and done, we can say we were a small part of why those athletes are the way they are today."
The final topic touched on community engagement.
"This was a fantastic open discussion on different ways to engage the community and build relationships. At the end of the day, we all want fan support but you must show interest in people for them to be interested in you. I was able to get a lot of great ideas that other coaches do as well as hear about some of the challenges they face in that process."
Brennan wrapped up his experience by saying: "I would like to thank our Vice President for Athletics Jeff Eisen for allowing me the opportunity to travel to the NCAA and learn. It was an amazing experience that allowed me to not only bring back valuable information for my own coaching education but also gave me information to bring back to our department. I also want to thank the NCAA for holding such a well-organized and thought out three days. The topics were very important topics that we as coaches experience daily and provided a lot of good thoughts and ideas for my coaching future."