Some of the important roles within a team are:

  • Administration – arranging travel, uniforms, meals, transport, training venues and accommodation;
  • Management – arranging drinks during games, attending to minor injuries (e.g. blood rule), managing access to the changing room, arranging “recovery food”;
  • Physical training – game warm-up, fitness training, strength training, flexibility and maintenance of “game fitness”(especially for players that play few minutes);
  • Medical – injury assessment, management and rehabilitation;
  • Physiotherapy – injury treatment and rehabilitation, strapping (e.g. taping ankles), stretching and massage;
  • Equipment – source and maintain equipment, set up for training and games;
  • Mindset – relaxation, visualisation, emotional control and goal setting;
  • Financial – budgets, payments and receipts;
  • Media – managing media commitments (especially interviews) and direction regarding use of social media.

Depending upon the particular team, the coach may be required to do some of these tasks, there may be people appointed by the club or the coach may have authority to recruit appropriately qualified people.

In terms of physical training, medical and physiotherapy services there may be professionals associated with the team or (particularly with junior teams) it may be up to each athlete to seek treatment.

The coach needs to be clear as to their expectations of the role a member of the support staff is to perform and this includes the coach being aware of any policies or procedures that the administrators of the team may have.

When selecting staff, it is important that the extent of commitment required is clear so that candidates can evaluate whether or not they are able to give that commitment. It is worthwhile for the coach to hold at least some meetings with all staff present so that each gets a holistic view of the commitments that the players have.

The coach should seek input from support staff and in their areas of influence they should be given responsibility and accountability to make decisions. Often those decisions will impact other areas and continued discussion between the coach and all support staff is important.

For example, a team manager may be responsible for arranging team meals during a tournament. At a meeting of support staff parameters may be set:

  • the coach wants to have the players arrive at the stadium 2 hours before the game and have a team meeting 45 minutes before the game;
  • the physiotherapist may want to see athletes 30 minutes before leaving the accommodation to do any taping;
  • the media manager may require players to be available for interviews for 45 minutes after the game;
  • the physical trainer wants players to have some carbohydrate intake (approximately 30 grams) straight after the game.

The team manager can then arrange meals for the team (including post-game “recovery” food) taking into account these parameters.