A couple of years ago I wrote an article about my first experience as an assistant coach in wrestling. Basically, I was clueless and as I look back, not a very good assistant. However, with the help of other coaches, I finally got it. This is the time of year that head coaches might be hiring new assistants or guys fresh out of college might be looking for their first teaching/coaching job. So, here is a review of what I consider 8 traits of an effective assistant coach.

Trustworthy – The the head coach and players can trust him to carry out his assignment, and to carry out the vision of the head coach.

Loyal – He can disagree in private but he MUST ALWAYS agree in public with the head coach. He’s loyal to the head coach, to the program, and to the school. He’s a champion for the head coach and makes the head coach look good at every opportunity. LOYALTY IS HUGE!

Dependable – He’s there, on time, every time. Sounds simple, but oh so important.

Responsible – Takes ownership for the position he’s coaching, for the side of the ball he’s coaching, a special team, a fundraising activity, program management, or equipment.

Sound – Knows and teaches the fundamentals of his position/segment thoroughly and is always learning more. He’s willing to spend most of his time listening and learning the system.

Enjoy the job, the kids – If not, this will be evident early. It’s a tough business, but you gotta have fun.

Knows his role – His role is defined by the head coach. I always appreciated it when the head coach communicated this clearly. If he doesn’t, the assistant takes the initiative and figures it out. He understands that assistants make suggestions, the head coach makes decisions.

Accepts a specific duty – Even if it’s being in charge of the water bottles and airing up the footballs!

Are there more traits of an effective assistant coach? Heck yeah! Let me know yours.

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Coach L. Albaugh      DBLITY

Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.