When sports teams are successful, much of the credit goes to the head coach. However, there is often a staff of excellent assistant coaches who toil behind the scenes. These individuals occupy adjacent seats at courtside or roam the sidelines orchestrating different aspects of game strategy. Here are some reasons why assistant coaches are so important to athletic team success.
Delegation of Responsibility
While the mastermind behind most game plans begins with the head coach, assistant coaches are entrusted with individual aspects of that strategy. In many team sports, separate coaches work with particular units or deal with specific position players.
This helps to free up the coach to work on overall team objectives, while the assistants focus intently on prioritizing certain responsibilities. Baseball teams have hitting coaches and pitching coaches, even bench coaches. Football teams have a coach responsible for the defense, the offense, and specific position players on each unit as well.
There are assistant coaches who coordinate strength training and conditioning. Each sport, depending on the diversity of positions, will use a different number of assistants. Each assistant coach is delegated with a unique responsibility and therefore plays an important role in team success.
Good Guy Bad Guy
Sometimes a head coach needs to use an abrasive strategy to motivate a team that has a lackluster attitude. Often the coaching staff will directly coordinate this strategy in a private coach’s meeting.
The assistant coaches will show a more congenial manner to help spur the team to raise their intensity level, thereby pacifying their angry head coach. It’s like the good guy/bad guy method of obtaining the desired result through mixing two dramatically diverse mannerisms.
Team Unity and Character
Assistant coaches are also entrusted with helping build the team’s identity. They foster team unity and blend the head coach’s philosophy to build a cohesive unit. An assistant coach is invariably given the important task of recruiting new players or meeting with prospective free agent professionals.
They must consistently display an unblemished sense of integrity. While wins and losses fall on the shoulders of the head coach, the mannerisms of each assistant coach helps to shape the character of the team. While the head coach is in the limelight, it is the staff of assistant coaches who toil to build team unity and character.
Head coaches address heated questions during press conferences and are ultimately held responsible for a team’s performance. However, assistants who went on to be successful head coaches themselves have worked for many of these renowned head coaches. It is not a coincidence. The best teams have great head coaches, who surround themselves with a strong staff of assistants.