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Trusting Your Assistant Coaches

Having a healthy working relationship with your staff is essential to your success as a coach. If you and your assistant coaches are not on the same page, it will be much more difficult to implement a consistent philosophy and build a culture of trust. Taylor Thomas, owner and founder of Thomas Endurance Coaching and contributor to, provides a guide for working with assistant coaches and getting the most out of your staff.

Knowing how to best utilize your staff and their individual skill sets will provide a better experience for your athletes, explains Thomas. The first step to making this happen is to determine if each staff member brings value to your program. If the answer is “yes” then it’s important to recognize the unique skills that they bring to the table and how you can position them to expand those skills and work within your overarching philosophy. Helping coaches reach their full potential and positively contribute to the program starts with trust. Establish this trust as early as possible by getting to know your coaches and giving them opportunities to grow and take on new responsibilities. 

Just like any profession, coaches want to have the opportunity to grow and move forward. As a coach, one of the keys to being successful is continuing education and professional development. Coaching is an ever-changing profession and it’s important that you talk to your staff about the importance of seeking out new knowledge and techniques, as this can benefit the entire program and help them in their individual careers. Encourage them to attend seminars, lectures, and training camps that interest them, along with simply communicating with each other and sharing ideas. Even a simple conversation can open new doors for a coach.

As a head coach, you can play a major role in facilitating these conversations and helping everyone on your staff learn from each other. Rather than always passing knowledge from the top down, create an environment that allows for knowledge and advice to move laterally between all coaches. Everyone has their own background, experiences, strengths, and weaknesses, and therefore there are countless opportunities for every coach to learn from their peers.

Thomas suggests carving out time to discuss new ideas and approaches with your coaches, and make sure that they are doing the same thing with their peers. Along with the continuing education provided by seminars and clinics, these informal conversations can be a very valuable resource for you and your assistant to learn from each other. Taking the time to have these discussions will also show your assistants that you value their opinions and perspectives, and can help build a culture of mutual trust that is so important to having success as a cohesive coaching group. Building trust while constantly looking for opportunities for growth will set you and your assistants up to motivate, inspire, and prepare your athletes to be their best.

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