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An assistant coach works under a head coach to make sure players, equipment and facilities are well-prepared and organized. Some assistant coaches have direct coaching responsibilities, while others only respond to a main or head coach's directives. Many head coaches start out as assistant coaches and work their way up until they've gained the knowledge and experience necessary to lead a team.
An assistant coach maintains equipment to make sure it's available and in good working condition. Depending on the sport, that might mean inflating balls, laying down padded mats, lining the field, putting up nets, filling water bottles and cleaning the locker room. Some teams have equipment managers, but low-budget athletic programs and small schools use assistant coaches to perform those duties. An assistant coach often communicates with other schools to make sure equipment is available for away games and packs supplies needed for the trip. An assistant coach orders replacement equipment or takes damaged equipment to be repaired.
Performs Administrative Duties
Assistant coaches help with administrative tasks. According to basketball coach Shane Dreiling's TeamArete website, assistant coaches review report cards to determine eligibility, collect application forms and funds, make sure player's physical exams are current, enter players into score books, maintain statistical information during practices and games, coordinate parent volunteers and consult the media about players and game results. Helping with these tasks frees up more of the head coach's time, so he can focus on game plans and winning strategies.
Helps Implement Practices
Practices are a vital part of team sports, so an assistant coach helps facilitate practice time. An assistant coach implements drills and game plans into practices, according to the head coach's instruction. She also offers input for game strategies and gives advice for specific plays or game tactics, according to the Texas Storm track club website. An assistant coach helps players learn their playbooks and keeps track of players' punctuality and participation in practices.
Supports the Coach
One of the assistant coach's most important roles, even though it's not always the most visible part of the job, is supporting the head coach. The assistant coach discusses the game plan with the head coach, supports the coach in front of students and parents, follows team guidelines, keeps the coach updated on player injuries, scouts teams and players and helps with transportation when necessary, according to the TeamArete site. An assistant coach has a full plate of responsibilities, but one of his top priorities is making sure the head coach looks good.