It is important that every youth head coach have a dedicated and dependable assistant coach to help at practice and on the sidelines. Having two assistant is even more desirable. It is the responsibility of the head coach to assign meaningful tasks to the assistants, as both practice and game situations are frenetic places with several things going on.
As you learn more about my coaching program you will find that I place great value in the Positive Coaching Alliance's "Double Goal Coach" strategy. One important element of the PCA philosophy is the notion of "filling player's emotional tanks." It is crucial that players feel empowered and that they feel a strong connection to the team and to the program, and that participation on the team will help develop and improve their emotional maturity and self-respect.
With this said, I would like to suggest that a head coach designate one of his/her assistant coaches as a "PCA Coach." As such, their primary role on game day, and to some extent at practice, is to keep track of the positive things that players are doing to improve their play and the performance of the team. Having this information is important for the head coach to have when they are addressing the team, both individually and as a group. Remember, even when it is time to critique a player and point out something "negative" or in need of improvement, the coach should also have something positive to say as well. This is very important if these "teachable moments" are to have the positive impact you desire.
Players obviously need to be made aware when they are making mistakes or engaging in inappropriate behavior, but the research is pretty clear that a coach's words are more effective when they include positive words. Having an assistant responsible for tracking player performance will provide the head coach with a valuable inventory of information on the team's players. A strongly encourage all head coaches to consider having a PCA Assistant. I will share details on the PCA in subsequent posts, but the best way to learn about them is to visit their website: www.postivecoach.org