Beyond the Job
A typical job description can look something like this (thanks to NCAA Market):
- Develop student athletes to their highest potential both academic and athletic.
- Schedule and arrange all practices and competitions.
- Prepare a schedule that complies with department policy, goals and objectives in conjunction with the Director of Athletics.
- Hire, supervise and evaluate all assistant coaches.
- Organize and conduct effective training sessions and contests to improve student athletes’ athletic effectiveness.
- Scout and prepare student athletes for opponents through effective game strategies.
- Plan, prepare and conduct alumni events and programs.
- Administer the sport budget in a fiscally responsible manner.
- Coordinate team travel for away events
- Demonstrate at a high level leadership, sportsmanship, and personal and ethical conduct
And that is just 10 bulleted items listed of over 30 listed for the head job opportunity at Moravian College. Unfounded anywhere within that job description is the architecture for X’s and O’s. Inherent to the job description is the ability to plan, prepare, manage, lead, finance, model, and instruct.
In other words, outside the scope of coach hats to be worn: travel agent, human resources, guidance counselor, academic advisor, director of operations, motivational speaker, basketball liaison, team treasurer, and brand ambassador.
These roles are in addition to the actual on-the-court activity that can demand a lot of our attention. Where do you fall in prioritizing these other tasks?
“That’s one of the fun parts of coaching. O’s and X’s are a little boring. Everyone knows their O’s and X’s, but it’s those other things that makes a team and develops a player.”
— Steve Finamore (@CoachFinamore) August 20, 2019
There is a reason we don’t do a ton of X’s and O’s with Coach’s Climb. We laud the draw-ups because a quick-hitter is impressionable. But often it is the connectivity that coaches bring to the table leading to consistent results. #SupplementalRoles are about building connections beyond the game and grind that it takes to get where we want to go.
Read this great contribution by Coach David Kaplan (@Coach_Kap) from NABC regarding his journey into the coaching profession and found this excerpt to be exceptionally appropriate for this week’s topic.
Balance Ball & Life
What about those that start pennies on the dollar? Or who continue to grind balancing ball and life?
For the majority, coaching basketball doesn’t pay the bills. So, there is an obligation to find other occupations to supplement our income. Graduate assistant opportunities are good ways to get your start in the profession, bolster your resume academically, and often to be compensated with housing or meal plans to survive. That isn’t always an option for many that still want to coach, but have to provide for their family.
This has been my experience (and yours may be different).
- Marketing Representative (Part-Time)
- Intramural Coordinator & Gameday Operations (Grad Student Internship)
- Warehouse Operations (Summer)
- Data Entry (3rd Shift Temporary)
- Adjunct Professor (One Semester)
- Retail Inventory (1st Shift)
- Special Ed. Behavior Assistant
- Student Support
- Marketing Assistant (Intern)
These have all been jobs outside the coaching profession that I have accepted (some more willingly than others) to earn a paycheck to help pay the bills and put some food in the refrigerator.
The hard truth – if not working on campus, #SupplementalRoles can be hard to come by. Employers have a hard time accommodating schedule and additional commitments external to the job. This is where you will see a lot of coaches (not at the collegiate level) that become their own boss. Some will freelance from other passions of theirs. Others operate their own AAU club that focuses on skill-training and club teams throughout the year. There is a myriad of options, but it will likely take financial risk and great time-management to balance ball and life.
The #SupplementalRoles provide perspective and life experiences. It reveals how important the lifestyle of coaching is to you. It tests your relationship to the game, and more importantly your family. The support of my wife and my family has allowed me to continue to chase. The best advice, I think is what has already been mentioned from above:
“It’s not always lucrative…. It’s one of the most rewarding professions.”
If it wasn’t, why else would you sacrifice?