Value of Assistant Coaches

As someone who has been a full-time assistant coach there are not many articles written on being an assistant or about their value. Early in my career coaching club and high school there is typically a single head coach with some part time help. As head coach in those situations I try to find people knowledgable and enthusiastic about the game. They show up and perform specific roles, but generally are not involved in the planning stages or strategy beyond suggestions.

Heading to IU for grad school and being able to observe a high level college program put in the forefront of my mind the importance of making sure to implement a compatible coaching staff and the critical importance of having varied expertise. At that level there are now multiple full-time coaches and support staff members. It is important to have coaches who are experts in different areas and then give those experts the freedom to work. There is too much information spread over too many areas for one person to be an expert in each area.

A head coach needs to hire quality assistants that can make decisions in their areas of expertise and then trust them to do so. If too many of the staff have coaching profiles that have expertise in the same areas and are all weak in the same areas then someone will need to work in an area of weakness. Learning is good, but hiring a different assistant would probably be a better choice.

A head coach needs to know their own coaching profile so they can hire assistants with complementary skills. Rarely, in my experience, does this include hiring a friend because it is ‘more comfortable’ to do so. Coaching is about making a team better. It is uncomfortable to push beyond boundaries. A coach that is thinking of their own comfort and not on what the team needs is not prepared to lead a team to great heights in a consistent fashion.

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 20th, 2016 at 17:01 and is filed under Coaching. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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