4388 Ridgebotics is currently in the process of finding a new coach, and we were wondering how other teams out there found their coaches. We would prefer our coach to not be a teacher at our school. Just looking for any ideas out there to find a coach outside of the school and parents.
Just take a page out of FIRST’s playbook and tell the coaching candidates that it’s only a 6 week program! Trick them into getting addicted like the rest of us… Honestly that’s how most coaches that I know got into it.
I’m curious why you would prefer your head coach to be somebody outside of the school? Assuming your team operates out of a school, having a faculty member as your coach can unlock a lot of things both figuratively and literally. If they were a faculty member you may also be able to convince your school’s administration to offer a stipend for the position which might make finding your next coach a little easier.
I know a lot of coaches / mentors who are teachers including myself. Coaching is a lot to ask on top of any job. You could try doing some demos at local businesses where there are people who may fit your needs. We got a great mentor that way.
[echo…] It IS a lot to ask any ONE teacher to do in addition to their day job. But it is also a lot to ask an engineer to do after their day at work as well.
Having two teachers would mean you can lighten the burden on the current one. However, if you’re school is anything like mine (I’m the teacher), it’s hard to get anyone who even feigns interest in helping out… they see how long I’m there.
Best bet for off-campus help is having your current mentors/coaches talk it up to their coworkers. If you have a local off-season competition, have them invite prospective mentors to that. There’s no replacement for seeing the competition going on live.
They say it takes a village to raise a child… it’s no different with an FRC team. Your best bet is to look for many mentors over a singular coach. That helps lessen the time commitment from any one person and makes the team more resilient to changes down the road. My team has 11 mentors. We’ve separated the duties involved so no one is overwhelmed, and everyone has a backup that can step in when needed. During the build season, we all miss 1-2 meetings each week so we can balance robotics with the rest of our life. In the off-season, when we have an event it’s a lot easier to find 2 mentors to attend (We have a 2-mentor rule for all activities) when you have so many. With fewer mentors, the team’s activities would be hampered by mentor availability.
Look for teachers, parents, family friends, and employees at sponsors. Work on your “pitch” so you cover all of the important items:
What roles and responsibilities you want them to take on
How the team benefits from their involvement
How they benefit from their involvement
That last one is really key, as someone that’s not involved can have difficulty seeing the benefits for themselves. Professional growth, leadership growth, networking across the country, etc. FIRST mentoring really is a great way to grow professionally and be better prepared for additional challenges at work.
You need a candidate who knows the team already. Going to be a hard sell to recruit someone with no previous knowledge of the team. Going to be a hard season if you bring someone in with no previous knowledge of the team too…
By your post, you want to look outside of the school and parents. The only obvious options left are either sponsors or alumni…
Asking a sponsor rep to become a coach - Pro: money may follow, Con: coach burns out and walks away taking the money with him, coach has no knowledge base and is of no help to the team.
Alumni - Pro: They know FRC and bring that knowledge with them. Con: Probably going to be either a recent graduate or a college student and not going to have the resources to give to the team. Also won’t have a pocket book to bring to the team (most mentors I know spend out of their pocket for a lot of team expenses.)
It takes a special type of person to take on a role like this - someone generous, passionate, and patient. I hope your search is successful.
I think this thread should start with what you believe the responsibilites of this coach will be.
I was hired by my current team’s school (5686, Ethel Walker) as a coach to oversee the construction and competition aspects of the team. Although my duties have expanded now, the goal is to have someone within the school itself to aid in administrative work so I can focus on the robot. I work full time and then run the team on top of this, so my time is extremely stretched as lead mentor.
I recommend putting together a set of requirements and qualifications with your school for a coach - including experience in running teams, hours that will be required, and I recommend listing the team’s current resources (money, machining, and mentors).
Disseminate the job posting via your regional directors, regional facebook pages, and here on CD.
As someone who was willing to join a new team with very little knowledge of said team, I can say that you will rarely find someone willing to do this. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.
Biggest piece of advice - do not sugarcoat how much effort running a team takes. Someone who is not familiar will get burnt out and you will have a terrible season.