By: Andy Partin
Not enough emphasis goes in to appreciating how hard many assistant college baseball coaches work. Now that players are committing as early as 8th grade, imagine how long that assistant coach has to maintain a relationship with that player even before he steps on campus. On the flip-side, there are plenty of assistant coaches that get a commitment from a player early and don’t talk to them for a year.
Before diving further in to the importance of assistant coaches, I suggest always choose a program based on your love of the school first. Can you see yourself going to that school even if you didn’t play baseball there. Secondly, do you see the coaching staff doing everything they can to help you be successful on and off the field.
Now, back to the topic. Having a good relationship with your assistant coach is vital. Typically, one assistant coach will be responsible for the position players and one will be responsible for the pitchers. The majority of individual instruction will not come from the head coach. In most cases, he basically oversees the whole program. A lot of the skill-based teaching comes from your assistant coaches.
It’s key to make sure that you are comfortable with the assistant coaches. You must believe he can make you a better player. Your personalities need to mesh the assistant coaches. In some programs the assistant coaches run the practices.
During the recruiting process, utilize your time on the phone and on your visit(s) to learn as much as you can about the assistant coaches. Understand that it’s impossible for a coach to make every kid on the team happy. Typically every kid not playing regularly has an issue with the coach (naturally since he feels like he should be in the line-up). So when you ask a current player his thoughts on the assistant coach you need to try to distinguish between hard feelings and facts.
Don’t fall in love with just one coach either. The majority of assistant coaches want to be head coaches and they are looking for openings after every season. I don’t want to get too much in to the likelihood of an assistant coach staying as there are way too many factors to weigh out and consider.
Bottom line, you are going to spend a great deal of time with your assistant coach so make sure he’s someone you feel like you can learn from and someone you can trust.
Contributing: Brendan Dougherty (former 18 year Division I assistant baseball coach)