In this post I talked about the importance of learning how to properly sway a head coach to your point of view while acting as their assistant. Here I want to talk a little more broadly about the overall process of managing the head coach.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Head coaches can have a lot of different things on their plate – oftentimes things unrelated to volleyball. Good ones know how to delegate to their staff and how to get help from other resources (see Beth Launiere’s book). Even then, though, they can forget things or otherwise let stuff fall through the cracks.

There are also situations which create potential conflicts between current events and overarching principles. For example, the drive/pressure to win now vs. the longer-term welfare and development of the team or program and/or players.

As an assistant coach, it’s your job to help prevent these things from happening.

It’s also your job to manage the information flow to the head coach in some ways. As an assistant you are likely to hear things from the players that they won’t say to the head coach, some of which is said in confidence. You have to filter that information and present it in a way that the head coach can use to achieve desired outcomes without compromising your relationships – on either side.

Being a good assistant in this context is something that comes with experience. Particularly useful is having your own head coaching experience at some level. It helps you anticipate needs and issues so you can be proactive and get ahead of potential problems.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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