What does it mean to be an assistant football coach? That answer is as varied as those that ask that question. I was reading a couple of blogs on @hsfbamerica about coaches building up programs and instilling a winning tradition and legacy at the schools they are at. Both mentioned how important having trustworthy and capable assistant coaches are to the success of their programs. Pair this information together with the many posts on message boards and twitter how many assistant coaches just don't fit the need that the head coach needs. Maybe its because of immaturity, inexperience or just not having the resources available to make sure they have more than a warm body yelling on the practice field.
So back to the question what does it mean to be an assistant football coach? From my experience it takes a couple of things. You have to be willing to admit that you don't know as much as anybody else on the field. Learning the game is something that every coach does. But as a newer assistant or someone who doesn’t know the game from a coaching standpoint, your learning has to be doubled or tripled. You have to be willing to put the time in to get to know the system you are working in, the coaches you are working with and the kids your coaching. Are you willing to read every piece of information you can get your hands on to better yourself? If you’re not, perhaps coaching football isn’t for you.
It also takes the ability to be secure in yourself and ask questions. Even if they seem outlandish or stupid to others. I personally have learned so much from asking questions that many may feel are dumb questions. Its really another form of learning that coaches need to do. Two years ago I attended a Glazier Clinic and was in an offensive line session. This was my first clinic I had ever attended and was nervous due to the fact I knew I was one of the most inexperienced coaches at the entire clinic. Anyways, I took notes, listened intently and even asked a few questions during the presentation. However, after the session was up, I had the opportunity to sit down and ask this coach question after question and he was more than happy to answer every single one of them. Most coaches LOVE talking about the X’s and O’s in football. You just need to be able to ask the questions. I have yet to find a coach who won’t sit down with you and go over things to help you out! That is what makes coaching football so awesome! You just have to be willing to ask the questions to get the answers.
Finally, it takes time and effort. You have to earn your stripes with whatever program you are in. Doing the little things that make the offensive/defensive coordinators happy. And most importantly making the head coach happy. You are on their staff, not the other way around. Make sure you show up to practice on time and ready to work. Make sure that the ball bags are on the field or the water is hooked up. Do whatever little things you can do to make sure things run smoothly. If the head coach tells you to make sure all the equipment is put properly away after practice, you make sure that gets done to perfection. The more you are willing to do to help out the program, the more the head coach will notice. The more you are able to handle properly, the more responsibility you will be given. That is what most coaches want. At least the ones who want to advance. Seriously, who wants to be an assistant tight ends coach for five years at the high school level? Those who just want to be there are fine with that. But I would think most head coaches wouldn’t want a coach like that on their staff.If you do these things, you will see more responsibility and respect thrown your way. Your opinion will be valued and trusted more and more with each passing day and you will begin to see the game in a different light. You will have a blast learning this game and offering your ideas and watching your experience grow with each season!