*A friend of mine, former teammate, and now current GA in the SEC shared Coach Larry Shyatt’s coaching advice with me as a guideline and reference, hope this is of some help to you…

Assistant Coaches – Shy’s Friendly Advice

  • Never be certain that your philosophy at the moment is the absolute, only right way… be respectful and flexible enough to ask yourself the same that you demand of your players… to constantly study and analyze how I can improve.
  • Take a prideful interest in understanding the rules and always ask your compliance department when there is any doubt as to how to proceed
  • Remember and respect the many different individuals who you work with and take no one for granted
  • Voice your opinions and stance when asked by your co-workers and Head Coach in a meeting setting. However, be careful and avoid personal comments to others regarding your basketball family outside those private times.
  • Do not let your ego or vanity negatively affect your performance. You represent yourself, family, and your program at all times. Assistant coaches are integral parts of each program, but not irreplaceable.
  • Your reputation grows and follows you as each day passes, so work harder at being a good person and a good assistant.
  • Make certain that you discuss problem areas rather than put them off or bury them. All successful groups need open dialogue and a servant’s mentality for the program.
  • As a rule of thumb, character is a priority when evaluating prospects. No program needs to add problems, but everyone can utilize another good player who possesses high character. Close games are often decided by teamwork and character, whereas run-away games usually indicate superior talent.
  • Not every prospect will select your program. Leaving families with a positive feeling about yourself and your program is essential. Try not to discredit or demean anyone regardless of their position in the process.
  • Lastly, but certainly not least… Balance your life, and make certain if the quantity of time is not there with your family, there is quality time. You may need to sacrifice other pleasures that you have enjoyed in the past to make certain that the people who you love the most, and who you love the most, remain paramount.
  • Continually challenge yourself as a coach by answering these questions:
    • Why do I coach?
    • How am I improving as a coach, teacher, leader, and mentor?
    • What type of respect do I possess for my many co-workers?
  • Am I giving our players everything to enable them to reach their fullest potential?
    • Seeking clinics, camps, public speaking, practice observations, video tapes, books, self-improvement seminars, and off-season projects
  • How do I rank in these 10 “must-have qualities”
    • Honesty
    • Work Ethic
    • Servant’s mentality (TFL)
    • Passion to improve
    • Reliability
    • Attention to detail
    • Organization
    • Communication
    • Sensitivity
    • Balance
  • Where am I strongest and/or weakest?

The following areas are ALL vital to learn and gain experience in as you grow in the profession. All of us are naturally more comfortable and qualified in some than others. However, you must find ways (without it affecting your efficiency in your current role) to become more prepared for operating a program in the future.

*Keep a notebook in as many different program aspects as possible*

  • Compliance
  • Recruiting
  • Scouting and Game Preparation
  • Academic Scheduling and Mentoring
  • Scheduling
  • Budgeting
  • Team Travel
  • Public Relations and Promotions
  • Facilities Coordination
  • Calendar of Events and Meetings for the Year
  • Summer Camp and/or Clinics
  • Basketball Preparation
    • Individual Workouts
    • Preseason Conditioning and Training
    • Practice Organization
    • Defense, Offense, Special Situations
    • Game day Responsibilities

If you are really preparing for a head coaching position then make certain you don’t overlook some valuable areas:

  1. Force yourself to coach a team, either during scrimmages or practice time if permitted, or occasionally at camps. A head coaches position presents a different perspective and requires a different focus than sitting on the bench as an assistant coach, balancing and dealing with refs, substitutions, offensive and defensive stats, and time-outs…
  2. Speak at as many events, luncheons, clinic groups, university functions, camps and/or clinics as possible.
  3. Learn to talk directly and honestly to players, parents and colleagues…both when things are going well and during difficult times…
  4. Focus on managing your time and becoming efficient in staff meetings, phone conversations and daily tasks
  5. Constantly strive to work at your weaknesses, or areas that you are least comfortable

For those seeking a college assistant coaching position:

  1. If you choose to work camps, join summer team staffs, attend clinics or practices, go the high school route… it will ultimately always come down to the choices that you make. Who are you trying to impress or build a relationship with and especially how?
  2. Do not be in a hurry for tomorrow… live, work, and think “in the moment.” Your role is to best serve the head coach and the responsibilities that he needs filled. As we expect of our players, to play the roles that we demand of them.
  3. Realize that like all professions, college basketball has its share of hard-working, classy coaches, as well as “Sneaky Petes” who are in the business to win at all costs… with little or no ethical consideration. Choose your situation and level wisely.

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