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The Head Coach/Assistant Coach Relationship: Learning to Work Together. Scott Rosberg, AD Park High School Livingston, Montana Why Coach?. Big 3 Love of the Game Impart Knowledge Competitiveness Other Reasons

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The head coach assistant coach relationship learning to work together
The Head Coach/Assistant Coach Relationship:Learning to Work Together

Scott Rosberg, AD

Park High School

Livingston, Montana

Why coach
Why Coach?

Big 3

Love of the Game

Impart Knowledge


Other Reasons

Coach Your Own Kids

Part of the Job (Teacher)


For the Kids”

The role of the head coach
The Role of the Head Coach

Leader of entire program; focused on Varsity

Part of Entire Coaching Team

Work w/ lower levels through the assistant coaches

Help Develop Assistants



Difference-makers & Confidence-builders

We don’t only coach sports – We coach kids.

Teach/model character, discipline, work ethic, sportsmanship, commitment to team, etc.

The role of the assistant coach
The Role of the Assistant Coach

It’s In the Title – Assist the Head Coach

Implement Head Coach’s Philosophy

No “Yes Men”/”Yes Women”

Know the Sport

How to play it

How to teach it

How head coach wants it taught

Inexperienced assistant

Experienced assistant – Could have a dilemma

Good cop/Bad cop

Asst. Coach = good cop/ Head coach = bad cop

Never should have both be bad cop

The role of the assistant coach1
The Role of the Assistant Coach

The Fine Line of Discipline

Definition of Discipline (Knight & Brown)

Team/Program discipline starts with disciplined coaches

Problems arise when coach is undisciplined

Assistant Coach MUST have discipline with lower levels

Be there for the kids, but maintain your distance

Head coach must teach the assistant coach his role – don’t assume anything

Characteristics of an assistant coach
Characteristics of an Assistant Coach


Hire for character

Instill character in coaches and kids

Winning and losing is secondary


Through thick & thin

No talking behind head coach’s back

Loyalty only goes so far, though (ethical, legal, dangerous)

Trust – 2-way street between head coach/assistant

Characteristics of an assistant coach1
Characteristics of an Assistant Coach

Desire to Learn

Owe it to the kids, head coach, & program

Books , videos, Clinics

Other coaches


Hard to define great leadership, but you know it when you see it


Positive motivation is best

Characteristics of an assistant coach2
Characteristics of an Assistant Coach

Communication Skills

Be precise

Speak clearly & slowly

Break it down

Repetition, repetition, repetition

Correct & Re-teach


Work Ethic

Desire to be a head coach (optional)

Developing the hc ac relationship
Developing the HC/AC Relationship

Head Coach’s Responsibility

Family of Coaches - Be there for them


How can I help you do better?

Understand Assistant Coach’s Mindset

Responsibility/Reward, Bridesmaid, Praise them publicly

Define the Assistant’s Job

Practice & Games

Help Your Assistants to Succeed

Put them where they will thrive.

Working together
Working Together

Pre-Season Coaches’ Meeting


Program Philosophy

Policy Sheet – Get input from assistants

How We Teach What We Teach



“Our Way”

Working together1
Working Together

Criticizing Assistants – Never in front of kids

Kids lose respect for both your assistant and you.

Hurts your program.

Assistants get little recognition or $

Talk with the assistant after practice to correct or address the situation.

Corrections in front of kids are an “alternative” way.

Don’t take assistant’s control away.

HC is the role model for how s/he wants thing done.



Each coach’s specific duties

Know how all fits together

When HC & AC practice Together

Give assistants the plan early.

Show what and how you want things taught.

Parameters for teaching and interrupting

Talk w/ each other at breaks, but not too much.

Model how you want assistants to do things when you are not there

Responsibilities cont
Responsibilities (cont.)

Role Reversal for a Day

Fresh perspective

Kids see assistant as head coach (respect)

Empower assistant with confidence

Head coach sees things from assistant’s perspective

Assistant on Own Lower Level

HC needs to help AC prepare for these nights.

Veteran vs. Beginner Assistant

HC should help plan first few practices.

HC explains how things need to be taught.

HC should try to be at early season practices.

Responsibilities cont1
Responsibilities (cont.)


Extremely important but underappreciated by those outside the business.

It’s not what you know, but how you teach it.

Strong communication skills are essential.

Develop positive relationships.

Different Learning Paces – teach to quickest learners

Responsibilities cont2
Responsibilities (cont.)

Teaching (cont.)



Teach, show, walk through, practice, repeat, next day, all year


Precision is crucial to success.

“Perfect practice makes perfect.” “Sweat the small stuff.”

Responsibilities cont3
Responsibilities (cont.)


Varsity Game

Decision-making – Head Coach makes major decisions

Assistants offer input, suggestions; HC tells how s/he wants the input

Assistants may be in charge of certain areas

Timeouts – Protocol; Who speaks when?

(Assistants model correct huddle behavior)

Half-Time and Post-Game

Counseling on the bench

Responsibilities cont4
Responsibilities (cont.)

Lower Level Games

Assistant becomes head coach

Head Coach needs to let assistant “run the show”

Head Coach on bench early in season

Head Coach needs to model good assistant coach behavior

After game head coach should talk w/ assistant about game

Assistant coach making the leap
Assistant Coach Making the Leap

When is the assistant ready to become a head coach?

Head coach should help the assistant to become a head coach if that is the assistant’s goal