I was once told if you want to get into coaching all you need to do is wait a little while for the right job because coaching is a revolving door. In many ways this advice is correct. There are always programs looking for coaches.
No matter what the reason for a coaching vacancy its important to do our best to hire the right coach to help our program move forward. This means we need to know the traits we are looking for in a quality coaching candidate.
Before I go any further, I should mention the elephant in the room when it comes to hiring a new coach, time and money. Does the person have the time and can they afford little to no pay? Since most of us (me included) can't change the reality of coaching taking time or the fact that the majority of coaching positions pay a small amount this means many potential coaches never walk through the doors.
Let's get back on track...
We all want "quality" coaches though. So how do we get "quality" coaches in our program?
We have to first know what we are looking for in a coaching candidate. Here are my top three qualities:
1. Eagerness To Learn
No matter what a person thinks they know about the game of basketball, they must have an eagerness to learn my system and program. If they don't than I won't have players who are ready to compete at a high level and our success will be limited. Having an eagerness to learn is key.
2. Heart Of A Teacher
A person doesn't have to be a formal teacher, but they do need to have the heart of a teacher. I want coaches who can teach understanding, communication, and togetherness. If a person has the heart of a teacher they know how players operate and this will move the program along faster than writing players off or only focusing on one player to do it all.
3. Be A Team Player
When a coach builds a great team of coaches a program will flourish. They have to realize that not every idea will be used and that a player may be moved up to a higher level, making the lower level team worse off in the short term. They also have to be willing to pitch in when things need to get done. There may be some Saturday morning camps to help run, open gyms to sit through, and conditioning sessions to manage. Since program building isn't just one person job it's important that every coach is willing to do their share.
I'm sure you noticed that X's and O's and skills weren't a part of the list. Of course, every coaching candidate needs to have a basic understanding of the game and the skills needed to compete. The more knowledge they have the higher level team they will be able to coach successfully. But without an eagerness to learn, having the heart of a teacher, and wanting to be part of a team they aren't a "quality" coaching candidate in my mind.
If you want your team and program to be the best they can possibly be don't only look at the playing background, coaching background, and players they've trained. Each one of these areas may look good up upfront, but if the coach doesn't have the right coaching qualities you need to build a strong program they may not be a "quality" coach and you may be looking for another coach in the not so distant future.