If you are a Head Coach or CEO there’s no real need for you to read this post. This post is all about the assistant and one of the most important roles he or she must fulfill. Being a former Head Coach I know what it’s like to be in that seat. I also know that everyone out there can identify the problem, but very few come up with well thought out solutions. This is true on the court and in the corporate office.
I strongly encourage every assistant out there from this day forward to stop just telling the head coach the problems and complaining about what’s not working; instead, put sustained thought and research into two areas: (1) proof and (2) solutions.
Proof: once you watch the film and identify the problem, that’s when your job really begins. Example: we had an issue a few games ago with not moving the ball. We knew ball movement creates better shots and better chances for us to score. Identifying the problem was the easy part. Coming up with proof so that our players knew it was the truth was where my job really started. So I counted the number of passes thrown per possession and whether we scored on that possession. I was then able to give Doc (our Head Coach) stats that did not lie. Stats that he could use with our team to drive home the point that holding the ball hurts our offense — that going 1-on-1 hurts our offense. He had the stats that showed we scored on only 36 % of the possessions in which we threw 2 or fewer passes and we scored on 61% of the possessions when we threw 3 or more passes. We knew the problem but I wanted to provide proof so that the players knew it was the truth.
It is my job as an assistant to think about the problem and come up with ways I can help the Head Coach correct it. I am fortunate to be on a staff where every assistant understands the importance of such an exercise. We are simply all trying to make Doc’s job easier so that he can spend his time on the big things.
Solutions: it is our job as assistants to provide solutions to any problem on or off the court. It could be a wrinkle to an existing play. It could be a better play that could give our post man a chance to catch the ball deeper. It could be a motivational idea, story, or quote that can inspire our team. As an assistant it is our job to constantly put thought and search out ways to improve our team. We should never be in a position where our Head Coach has to ask us first. We should constantly be proactive in seeking solutions.
Once I have put quality thought to the problem I will then write up my solution and put it on Doc’s desk. That way he can read it at his leisure and not waste any of his time having to discuss it with me first. I want him to have time to think about it before he talks to me about it. As an assistant we all have to understand that maybe only 1 in 10 solutions are actually implemented; but our job is to think of an 11th one. We have to keep thinking, keep analyzing, keep studying, keep reading. Our job is to help our Head Coach by providing solutions that may work, not just griping about problems.
Simply put, our job is to put sustained thought to how we can make our Head Coach successful. Our position is not about us. It is about doing everything we can to make the team and the guy we work for successful. You will be well on your way if you continually think about proof and solutions after each practice, each game, and about each player. Being an assistant is not about self-promotion, personal agendas, or recognition. The best assistants don’t seek any of these but rather, they do their jobs and accolades naturally seem to follow them!