30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Life as an Assistant Basketball Coach in Indiana

After being the varsity basketball coach at a local high school for 7 years after having been an assistant the previous 13 years has given me some perspective on the coaching profession.  Before being a head coach, my main goal was climbing the ladder to success.  Everything I did was focused on getting that head coaching position.  To be honest, I wasn't always the most supportive assistant because I had ways that I would do some of the coaching and I wasn't in charge.  I was as supportive as many young assistants, but not to the point I should have been.  Call it the selfishness of wanting to climb the ladder, but I wasn't always as I should have been.

Then after 7 years of being in charge and seeing and dealing with all of the things that a head coach does, I realized that all head coaches are usually doing the best that they can.  There are some bad ones out there for different reasons, but most are trying to do what's best for the players as well as the team.  Now, after that experience I am an assistant again.  I have little of the pressure of the head coach and have a different perspective than I did in my 20's.

My job as an assistant is to be a "yes" man to a limit.  My job is to give support to the head coach in ways that he asks, but also in ways that maybe he doesn't see.  My job is to attempt to take some of the pressure off him in his daily duties.  My job is to support him in public whether he is around or not and to not tolerate negative talk about him from the players, parents, or fans around me.  My job is to defend him at all costs and any questions I have should be addressed between he and I and not with people with an agenda.  My job is to sell the program to anyone and everyone who will listen assisting with the young elementary players all the way to the alumni.

My job as an assistant hasn't changed from when I was younger, I should have been doing those same things.  What has changed is I have now let go of the selfish ambition of my youth into the helpful assistance of my early middle age.  There will be more help from me than before and there will be more smiles also.  Because I will be giving advice and not making decisions.  Giving advice is an easy job, everyone can do it, however, making decisions is a hard job and few people want to do that.