Staying in Your Lane: Asst. Coaches

This article is provided by Coaches Network

Assistant coaches are critical to your team’s success. But if they’re overstepping their bounds and focusing on the wrong thing, they can hinder your team’s progress. In this article on, Jeff Haefner discusses ways to make sure your assistant coaches know their role and are making a positive impact on your program.

Communication is key: Assistant coaches aren’t going to step on your toes purposely. If they’re crossing into coaching territory you don’t want them to, the problem may simply be that they’re unaware of what your expectations—and their responsibilities—are. Haefner suggests sitting down with your assistants and discussing those expectations with them. That way, you’re both on the same page. “Just like coaching players, you need to give your assistants clear and defined roles and responsibilities,” he writes.

Play to their strengths: However, Haefner also stresses the importance of thinking beyond simply what you need from them. If you know that your assistant excels in a certain area, allow them the opportunity to take ownership of that role. “It’s important to consider your assistant’s strengths,” he writes. “Then it’s your job to put the assistant coach in the position to use those strengths to benefit the program.”

Touch base: Making sure your assistants don’t overstep their bounds isn’t something you can do once at the beginning of the year and then forget about the rest of the season. Check in regularly with your coaches, both formally and informally, to be sure that they understand what their role is.

One solution Haefner offers is to try daily huddles with your assistants. These should only take between five and 10 minutes, but they give you the opportunity to get everyone’s ducks in a row. Ask your coaches what their key priorities are for the day, and talk to them about the metrics you want them to meet. This will ensure they focus on the right things each day.

Management matters: During the season, Haefner suggests writing down and documenting metrics and roles for your coaches, and then scheduling weekly and monthly meetings with assistants to discuss how well they are meeting them. This can provide them with valuable feedback and let them know when things need to change.

“Managing assistant coaches is just like managing employees in a business,” he writes. “You document procedures for an employee. You document and define expectations and roles for that employee. You implement key metrics to measure the performance of that employee. You have regularly scheduled meetings with that employee to review goals, expectations, metrics, performance, and progress.”

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