Selecting assistant coaches and support staff

Hopefully the coach will, at the very least, have input into who is appointed as assistant coach for the team as well as team managers and other support staff (e.g. physiotherapist).

Overall, the coach should look for an assistant coach that complements their own strengths and weaknesses and broadens the skill set of the coaching staff. For example, coach Phil Jackson utilized Tex Winter’s experience and knowledge of the “triangle offence” with both the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

It serves little purpose to have an assistant coach that will simply agree with everything that the coach proposes. The assistant coach must be prepared to provide feedback and comments to the coach that may offer a different perspective or to suggest a different course of action.

Once a decision has been made, the coaches must be consistent in how that is communicated to the players, even if the assistant coach had disagreed in the private conversations with the coach.

The coach should designate specific roles for the assistant coach to perform in games, at practice and throughout the preparation for the tournament and the period of the tournament itself. This should include the assistant coach having a role “on court” during the preparation period and at practices as this is important for them to build a rapport with, and the trust of, players.

Similarly, the roles given to the assistant coach in the game must be meaningful – if the assistant is to keep a record of certain statistics then the coaches ought to review those statistics and, when appropriate, provide feedback to the players drawn from the statistics.