Coach's Corner: David Svoboda 9/23
By David Svoboda Basehor-Linwood Assistant Head Coach
In building a championship football program, we all have our own roles to fill — none any more or less important than the other.
The head coach is the unquestioned leader of most top programs, though it could be argued that the BEST programs are truly led by the student-athletes.
That is another column for another time.
It is time now to look at the role of an assistant football coach in helping to build a consistent title contender, and how that role can be neatly summarized by keeping in mind three concepts, all of which begin with the letter L.
The first responsibility of a top high school football assistant is to be consistently learning more about the sport, the position he is coaching, and the overall game.
None of us is gifted with the 25-hour clock. Some of us are head coaches in other sports. And yet if we are going to truly give all we can to the football programs we serve, we MUST continue learning.
For many of us, that means attending clinics in the offseason, spending time on college campuses with coaching colleagues, or just on the phone picking up words of wisdom from a colleague.
But the learning process must never cease.
We, as coaches, are teachers. And the best teachers never stop learning and growing.
Our second key role as a high school football assistant is to listen. The head coaches we work for often burn the candle at both ends, spending hours upon hours in watching video of an upcoming opponent, dealing with parental concerns, taking state-mandated rules tests, etc.
A good assistant, then, needs to be a listener....one who can hear concerns from fellow assistants, parents, players, and the head coach himself. That good assistant can then serve as a filter if necessary for the head coach, taking only those things to the coach that must be dealt with by the man in charge.
Much of what we listen to as assistants really is not worth burdening our boss with. But listening is vital in helping parents, players and our fellow assistants feel their worth. And it takes all of us to win at the highest level.
The third and final L word, and yet possibly the most important, is loyalty. The type of loyalty we speak of here is not the “blind” kind. That type of loyalty can lead to lost jobs, confusion and spinning of oneʼs wheels.
The loyalty our head coaches and our programs need is much more involved. Loyalty can be shown through dedication to a system. It can also be measured by the ability to constructively question a colleague on a point or a technique, but only behind closed doors in a way that leads to growth.
No head coach, if he’s worth working for, wants blind loyalty. He wants to be questioned. He wants to be pushed back. But he also wants you to have his back once you leave the meeting room.
As we move into the meat of our seasons, let’s keep in mind these three essentials and do what we can to help our respective programs toward the ultimate goal of holding a state championship trophy.
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