Working With Other Coaches

  • September 17, 2019


From PCA DevZone: Working with Assistant Coaches

Our society’s mythology glorifies the individual leader, but great organizations are usually led by leadership teams. Sports teams are no different. Forge your assistant coaches into a cohesive leadership team, and you will accomplish much more. And you will address a huge problem with youth sports practices – too many kids standing around.

The trade-off is control versus reach. If you do all the coaching, you can do it to your standards. However, integrating assistants into your leadership team will extend your impact on your players. But that requires delegating, something many coaches either aren’t willing or don’t know how to do.

Here are some thoughts about how to do this well

  • Familiarize assistants with your Double-Goal coaching philosophy by using the Double-Goal Coach Job Description (see page 70). Get their commitment to helping build the team culture you want before empowering them.
  • Assign them to fill E-Tanks of all players in early practices and ask them to share what they did. Make overlooked players the focus of the next practice. Make your assistants tank fillers, and it will have a huge impact on your team.
  • Involve assistants in practice planning and carve out active roles for them in games.

Here are three ways to delegate to assistant coaches:

  1. See and Do: Assistant watches you teach a skill and replicates it with another group of players.
  2. Plan and Preview: Assistant plans to teach a specific skill at an upcoming practice and previews it with you before trying it out on the players.
  3. Do and Report: Assistant teaches a skill to part of the team and reports how well it went.

Create a strong leadership team and you also prepare your assistants as Double-Goal Coaches who will go on to positively impact many youth as head coaches in the future

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Coach Responses

How has working with other coaches, parents or assistant coaches, helped you make your teams and athletes better?

What challenges have you had to overcome in building your coaching team or mentoring other coaches?

Share your tips and best practices!

Darren Lowe– Soccer – Surrey – 9 years

“…At the younger ages when you have 10 to 12 players on the team it is easy for a coach to run a session with all players, and the assistant coach helps with setting up cones, chasing after balls that are going into other practices, holding the flag during games. But now that I’m coaching U14 with 18 players, having an assistant coach to run half the team, while I have the other half, has made practices more engaging.”

Malcolm Sutherland – Ice Hockey – Thunder Bay – 30 years

“…As a teacher/instructor/coach of coaches, I have found my reach broadening. This has been personally inspiring! But, I have also recognized and heard the struggles of coaches to effectively relinquish “control” and to become less authoritarian and autocratic leaders. When coaches do “let go” paradoxically they gain positional authority, not because of established rules or imposed demands but because of gained trust.”

Sean Ferguson ChPC – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 20+ years

  1. Never assume that an ‘assistant’ and or ‘volunteer’ coach, is not as: engaged, knowledgeable, and or as experienced as you, just because you may be a paid employee of the sports organization.
  2. Learn – every coach has different/unique backgrounds to learn from, and how do we grow? Well, we learn from others.
  3. Parents are valuable – you will most likely find yourself needing ‘help’ coaching and or running your sports club, so bring along those eager parents, as they are invested in the program ($$$$) and their child.
  4. Cooperate & collaborate. If you want to be successful and have success for your athletes, you need to be open to cooperating and collaborating with others.
  5. Please do not say “you’re wrong!” to another coach in their approach (unless it’s going to put someone in danger/cause harm); we all have different skills & abilities and approaches.
  6. Promote & be proud of those you work with – positives breed success.
  7. Keep the ‘doors’ and lines of communication open, by being accessible and present.
  8. Do ongoing training as a group. Don’t just do 1 session of training, and or have co-workers take just the basic NCCP qualifications…do more and you’ll reap the benefits with your team of coaches, parents, and volunteers…”

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