Success is a funny word‚ mostly because the definition is always changing. It’s a very personal thing. How you define success defines what you aim for and what you accomplish, and I used to think success was all about trophies and tryout candidate numbers and the ever-elusive “prestige. ” But, and this is just between you and me, that stuff didn’t really end up being that important. I mean, prestige is good and all, but it didn’t help me build the kind of program I really wanted. I wanted a program with good athletes, but I also wanted one that built good people and bonds that lasted beyond each person’s days on the team. It should be a place where moments and memories are made. The hard part is that almost never happens naturally, and it certainly doesn’t happen naturally year after year. I realized I was going to have move into action. But, I never do that without first making a plan. That’s where January comes in. You’re a good bit into your season now. You’ve gotten the hang of some of your teammates’ quirks. You might also be getting into competition preparation, but you know once that hits, tryouts will be here so fast. So that makes January the perfect time to get ahead on your next season. Here are a few ways you can do that: Reflect January puts you over the hump in your cheer year: you’ve gotten through the early days, which are often the busiest, and the holidays. Now, you’ve got some headspace to really sit back and reflect on the year so far by asking questions like… What has been good so far? What hasn’t been good so far? What changes need to be made to improve the program? To improve myself further? Plan ahead In many ways, January is the calm before the storm. It’s after football season, it’s before competition season really gets crazy, and it’s just far enough out to start working on tryouts. This is it‚ your chance to get ahead. You don’t have to just get by in the hustle and bustle. January is the perfect time to start… Thinking through your big picture for the next season Editing your handbook and other materials for next year Plotting out dates for next year’s big events Looking at uniforms Putting tryouts together Planning the end-of-the-year banquet or party Even just starting on one or more of these things can help you feel less rushed and stressed as the next season inches forward. If you want to get a jumpstart on your planning, I can help you with my plan-a-thon which starts soon. You can sign up here. Improve Your Skills It’s the time of year that everyone is thinking about how to improve themselves, but if we’re honest, we don’t always follow through. This year could be different for you and your team. It’s a new year and new chance to find some training or conference to help you get better as a coach so you can lead your team to victory on a few different levels this season and next. Make a list of improvements or resolutions you want to make. Then, start looking around for conferences or resources to help you get there. If you need some suggestions, I’ve got a list of them for you here. You can make really January count this year by starting to think about next year. If you want to get ahead and get organized for your next season, join me and some other coaches for my plan-a-thon. January can be your secret ingredient to having a killer next season, but you have to start now!