Next to “Is that grass real?” the other question asked most frequently is “What do you do in the off-season?” Here is an off-season checklist to know what to do:

  • Rest. Your turf gets an off-season and so should you. In fact, that is the best thing about being a groundskeeper in Indiana. Thank you, frigid December and January temperatures.
  • Meet with administrators. Producing outstanding playing surfaces is more than a one-man job. And, I’ll argue that it is more than a one-department job. Excellence comes from shared goals. Striving for perfection while your bosses are OK with mediocrity will leave you horribly short of your goals and always pushing uphill to get there. Use the off-season to share your goals with others, be they your bosses, coaches, or athletes.
  • Write your playbook. A close second to a shared vision is a hands-on plan. Such an outline is what connects the groundskeeping philosophy to its realization. When I had my own field, I could tell you on January 5 what products I would be applying to the field on August 5, which was the first day of the team’s road trip. Put it to paper and plan ahead. It’ll make the grind of the season all the more bearable (not to mention easier on the budget).
  • Set your roster. Considering staffing needs and decisions is more easily done now instead of in March when the urgency of who is going to mow the soccer field plays a factor in the decision. For staff that shows extra enthusiasm (and for yourself), look for professional development opportunities. Think about tradeshows. The Midwest Regional Turf Foundation (MRTF), the Indiana Parks & Recreation Association, and the IHSAA all offer January events with educational components.
  • Inventory equipment. The right tools make any project easier and increase your chances of success. With multiple storage facilities in different locations, keeping track of what equipment is at your disposal is a job in itself. Task your team to take inventory at each site and devise a plan for sharing equipment among the staff. Then, work with vendors and sister organizations or schools systems to arrange borrowing arrangements and resource sharing.