This article was originally posted on Beyond the Ball, a football coaching blog focused on the mental aspects of the game. Building a strong coaching staff is essential to great program, no matter what sport you are competing in. Please take a few minutes to read this article and develop your own expectations for your staff. MaxOne believes better athletes, better programs, and better coaches start with proper planning and the expectation of success.
Know Your Values
Recently, I spent some time looking back over my grad school work to see if I created anything of decent value while taking some of my courses (I received my Masters in Coaching and Athletic Administration so it is not entirely crazy for me to look back from time to time). I did happen to pull up a document that may be of some use to those who like to lay out every aspect of your program (which the more I talk to great coaches, it seems that the more detail they pour into everything they do). And on the heels of our outstanding conversation with Coach Shannon Jarvis (Mill Creek HS), this seems appropriate.
It is a page written guide to the expectations of an assistant coach. In many ways, it is simply my own philosophy of coaching applied to what I would expect of others on staff.
I highly recommend creating a document like this for yourself. Not only will it force you to acknowledge your beliefs and values as a coach, it will provide you with a tangible way to keep your people accountable to your standard.
Our assistant coaches are expected:
- To be consistent in keeping our players accountable for their actions (or inactions). Players need to know the boundaries and have no doubt that those boundaries will be consistently and fairly enforced. This means that an assistant coach should not “play favorites” because no one player is bigger than the team.
- To be open and honest about their concerns behind closed doors. Disagreements are to be left in private. Any issues with other staff personnel are to be taken first to the individual and if the situation cannot be resolved, to the head coach. This ensures that no talk goes on behind another staff member’s back as this would breach the characteristic of respect that our coaches are expected to maintain. Once we step outside the meeting room, our staff is a united group. This point is essential in maintaining the solidarity of our entire program.
- To perform all of their coaching duties on time and in a manner that is consistent with the quality of excellence that we expect from our players.
- To care about the wellbeing of our student-athletes beyond the football field. In order to have the lasting impact and influence that gives our profession meaning, we must be active (and appropriate) in meeting the needs of our players. “Rules without relationship equals rebellion, but rules with relationship equals response.” Our players must know that we care about them and in turn they will respond to our demands.
- To be great teachers of the game. There are times that call for a coach to raise his voice but raising ones voice is not the same as teaching. Repeating the same thing over and over to a player is not teaching. Demeaning a player for repeated mistakes is not teaching. We must actively seek ways to engage our players and their learning styles and make time for those who do not understand our teaching. Chances are, it was our teaching that was lacking, and not the player’s intellect.
- To actively look for areas to improve our program. Coaches that constantly need to be told what to do and how to do things are a hindrance to the program.
- To conduct themselves with enthusiasm and passion for the game. As a team, we are never as good as we think we are, and we are never as bad as we think we are. With this in mind, there is no loss that should put our attitude in the tank, and no win that should keep us from continued dedication and hard work.
- To always have a plan for practice and to be organized in regard to communication and execution of duties.
- To model the characteristics of integrity, respect, discipline, self-control, and excellence in the way they handle themselves both on the field and in the school building. Our coaches reflect and represent what our program is about to the outside world and this reflection is of the utmost importance in building quality football players and citizens.