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Four Reasons to Hold a Post Season Banquet

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Whether you have it immediately after your season ends, wait until right before school gets out in the spring or plan it for sometime in between, there are four important reasons to organize a year end banquet for your basketball program. (Personally I like having our banquet a little later in the spring and I'll explain my reasoning shortly.) 

1. Celebrates the season

It takes an unbelievable amount of work to put a team together and take it from point A to point B. Coaches, assistant coaches, players, parents, managers, trainers, athletic secretaries, and other support personnel all work diligently to produce the best product and the best experience possible.

The time, energy, and effort spent is generally the same regardless of whether your team finishes in the top half of the league standings or in the bottom half. Hopefully you all get together to celebrate a league or regional championship, but I must admit that there have been a couple years where we celebrated just surviving the season and keeping our sanity!

2. Reinforces your culture

The post season banquet is the ideal time to reinforce (or possibly change) your program's culture. Start by decorating the meeting space with championship banners, trophies, and all league plaques. Put together a highlight video that shows off all your on-court successes and a separate slide show that remind everyone in attendance of how much fun you had off the court.

Invite your alumni, especially the ones who are presently playing in college, to come back and share "war stories" with your current players. The entire event from start to finish needs to radiate success, hard work, and the benefits of participating in the program.

This is why I like having our banquet in the Spring - it gives the players who are leaving the program a chance to decide where they are going next. These decisions are almost always worth celebrating and also add to the overall atmosphere of success.

3. Sets the tone for next season

While reinforcing your program's culture, your banquet also provides a great opportunity to set the tone for next season. Have as your underlying theme "We're happy but not satisfied." Each table could have a place card in plain sight that outlines the future goals of the program and what it will take to achieve them.

You don't have to spend a lot of time working on this area because everyone should be able to get the hint anyway. However, the hope is that every player in attendance will walk out of the building with a renewed focus and dedication to making the program better than it's ever been before.

4. Can be an effective fundraiser

This may not be feasible if you are coaching a club team but is almost a necessity if you are coaching at a middle school or high school. Tickets can be sold to parents, families, and boosters for a nominal price as long as everyone understands that all revenue is going directly back into the program to help pay for a new shooting gun, uniforms, summer league fees, team shoes, etc.

Once the banquet starts memorabilia can be auctioned, a 50-50 raffle can be held, and highlight videos can be sold to make the event more enjoyable while raising a few more dollars as well.

It's easy to have a post season banquet or party after having a highly successful year but don't be one of those coaches who scraps the event after a disappointing season. Don't lose sight of the big picture and remember the banquet is not for you but for your players. And if you can use it to set the tone for next year, reinforce your culture, and raise some money all at the same time then even better! 

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