HOW TO GROW AS A COLLEGE BASKETBALL ASSISTANT by Raul Placeres

Learning to serve should be one of our biggest strengths.

Most conversations regarding the importance of an assistant coach starts with how well of a recruiter he is. It’s understood by most in our profession that recruiting is the lifeblood of a program.  In today’s game with the constant grind of the AAU circuit, rules constantly changing, one of the most essential responsibilities an assistant should have is identifying prospects and implementing a database of recruits. Lets not forget that it is just not about fit, talent,  and ceiling with the player but also establishing and building an authentic relationship with the prospect. Most of the time this is done by the assistant coach.

As I grow in this profession I appreciate all those assistants who have entered the profession from the bottom and worked themselves up the ladder. In today’s game not nearly enough coaches go through the progressions of the coaching ladder. Because of this I believe at times we skip necessary skillsets to be an effective assistant as well as a potential head coach one day.

I have tried to put together areas that an assistant coach can work on in order to grow in the profession:

No job is too big, no job is too small. Do unrequired work.

Office Hours:

How many times do we go in the office and mis-manage our time?? My guess is plenty. Time management is essential in our profession. We must maximize our day. Many times we are pulled in different directions throughout the day. Just like we ask our players to have a plan and execute it, the same goes for us. We must learn to multitask.  Our bosses don’t need the added stress of picking up tasks that we don’t complete because of the mismanagement of time. Don’t procrastinate. When given a task knock them out of the way.

The Internet:

A coach who can maintain a social media presence has the ability to connect with many players in today’s game. Being “in the know” also requires enormous amounts of responsibility. If you have any doubt about what you post on the internet don’t do it. Remember we represent more than just ourselves. Be knowledgeable of the rules.

Note Taking:

“The money will find you if you are good.” Perfect your craft throughout the year. I am a firm believer in note taking during the year. Always have a pad in hand.  I  understand we use our phones for everything in today’s world,  but I am an anti-cell phone in meetings and film.
Write your thoughts on paper. Take 5-10 minutes each day to write notes about practice, a meeting you had with a player, or something you may have picked up by watching something on the internet or tv.

I stress this part of the job to all young coaches who enter the profession.

Breaking Down Film:

An important skill!!! Film breakdown is just not an in season job. It is a job that should be worked on in the off season as well.  Having the ability to break down a team is essential for growth as an assistant coach. This will teach you how to run your program one day. Be as precise and detail oriented as you can be. It will only help your growth.

Understanding Who You Are and Where You Want to Be:

Respect and merit are earned through your work and trust. Be appreciative of the opportunity you have. Each year self evaluate your growth not just as a coach but as a person. Align yourself with quality people. Work camps, watch videos, attend coaching clinics. Sure, luck plays a role in any career , but I believe if you prepare the right way, you will have a greater chance to be ready when the opportunity does come. Be organized. Be a good listener. Think outside the box.

Recruiting Philosophy:

Must take this part of your job very seriously. Attending events is your job. Keep conversations to a minimum when out recruiting. You are there to work. Evaluate the prospect by how he acts on the floor, off the floor, and most importantly around those who love him (mom and dad). How does he fit your system? Is it someone you see your boss coaching? Develop authentic relationships with travel and high school coaches. Be honest! Don’t play the game because one day the game will play you.

EDITOR’S NOTE
Raul Placeres is the Associate Head Basketball Coach at Maryville coach in Tennessee under Coach Randy Lambert. After a standout playing career at Keystone Junior College and Maryville College, Coach Placeres began his coaching career at Gatlinburg Pittman High School. Twice he was named Sevier County coach of the year. Since returning to his alma mater as a coach they have captured a Great South Conference Title, two USA South Regular Season titles and an NCAA Tournament bid. Follow him on twitter @Coachplaceres

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