I get a lot of strange site traffic, but the most popular search query on my site is for people looking for advice on how to write a bio.
Well, I’m back on the topic again and this time, the subject is related to strategies for writing athletic coach bios. One thing you’ll notice is that no two coaches bios on college or university web sites are the same. Now part of that owes to the fact that there are simply coaches with more experience, who feel it necessary to cram as much information as necessary into their bios — feeling it will give them an edge with future recruits — and others whose biographies seem as if they went directly from the coach’s pen to the web site unedited.
This topic became more of an issue once I agreed to serve as an assistant coach for our tennis team this spring. As a web guy who just happens to play a sport, I’ve looked online a lot at athletic bios to develop an official style for our new site once it launches. I’ve noticed some common themes in most bios and it’s led me to come up with a few things I think are important to keep in mind when preparing biographies for coaches.
1. No spin zone The marketing copy needs to be on other pages of your site, but not in the coach’s biography. Sure, players are going to read to see if a coach is experienced, if he/she has sent players on to be future coaches (or at higher levels, to the pros) and what his or her experience level. But their bio simply isn’t the place to try to sell the success of your program. You have more visible pages for that, so use them.
2. Ready On Day One In my view, the most important job of the coach’s biography is to tell a player (or their parents) why this particular individual is qualified to serve in this role. You need to accentuate their experience first. Success matters, too. But it really depends on the person you’re selling. If you’ve got a coach that’s won lots of accolades, has coached winning teams to championships and sent a few players to the pros, then you’re probably awash with things to talk about and it’s unlikely you’re reading this.
But for those folks who have coaches who are relatively inexperienced or whose resumes are harder to elucidate, remember that certifications or accreditation, past experience, awards and successful playing experience are the areas that matter most here.
3. K.I.S.S. Rule Under four paragraphs. There really isn’t a reason to go longer than this and if there is, you’ll know it when you see it. For assistant coaches, no more than two sentences unless said individual is an experienced assistant or a situation (e.g. football) where you have a large cadre of coaches to account for.
There has to be a middle ground. I know some schools do an excellent job with these, but the ones I’ve seen done best aren’t at the Division 1 level domain of major college athletics. It’s actually at smaller colleges where athletics aren’t as prominently featured.
If you contain content to the more important facts about your athletic coaches, it’ll result in tighter bios that present information better, are designed more cleanly and allow people to get a quick impression of the talent your folks posses.
Does your institution have a style requirement for coaching bios?