Monday, August 19, 2013

Assistant Coaches: Find Your Niche

I've been an assistant coaches a lot of places for a lot of great coaches. Eight places, in eight years, for eight different coaches, to be exact. Never been fired or disliked my boss, just moved for a variety of reasons. One thing I've learned is that anytime you land in a new place it's all about finding your niche as an assistant. Every staff has different needs - how can you help fill them? For example, my first job at LaCrosse Central they needed someone to scout so I went and scouted over 40 games. As an assistant last year our coach loved what I did on offense so I was in charge of running our half court motion. This year I'm under a coach who would like to do more with video and stats so that's likely the niche I will fill.

That doesn't mean that the niche was the ONLY thing I did for our program. I still always do all the summer work, youth work, scouting, game day stuff, etc that goes with being an assistant. But every stop I've been on I've found one area that the head coach needed help on, and then proceeded to focus on that area.

Also, just because you are not on the varsity staff doesn't mean you shouldn't find a niche. I'm not on the varsity staff this year at Tartan, but I know I'm going to be doing film and statistic work for them along with coaching the sophomore team.

In closing, as an assistant it is your job to be as valuable of a commodity as you can be. That's why finding the niche is so important. It benefits the program and benefits you. Many times the niche isn't something you initially specialized in and may have to learn more about it. On the flip side something you think that you are "good at" may have to take a back seat because it's not needed. You might be a prolific man to man coach, but if that's already your head coach's bread and butter that's probably not your niche area. Also, you might have a great press, but coach under a guy who's a half court coach, so again that's not going to be your niche. It's all about finding out what role(s) you can do the most good for the program in and then being the best at that role you can be.

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