Head Coaching

What’s the difference between an Assistant Coach and a Head Coach?

Obviously the job description entails a large number of differences – mostly administrative type duties, as well as being the face of the program.

But what about mentally? How does the mentality change when instead of working for someone, you’re the one running the show?

I’ve had a brief taste of being the head coach for the golf team here at Colby. While the scope of the job isn’t nearly what it would be to be the head coach of the hockey team, there is definitely a different mental side to being a head coach.

Most noticeably, the biggest difference is in the “what ifs” and the second guessing. As an assistant coach, you give your opinion, but ultimately it isn’t your decision or your choice to live with. As the head coach, the decision rests with you. You make decisions on personnel, strategy and discipline, as well as setting the mood and the attitude of your program.

In public, these decisions are final and firm. You lead with an air of what is right and the understanding that you know what you are doing. In private, you wrestle with decisions and thinking about if you did the right thing. Are you putting your team and your program in the best position to be successful?

Despite the second guessing and “what ifs” in your head, you have to stand by your decisions and know that you made the best decision you could have with the information that you had at the time. Stay the course, trust your gut and work every day towards where you want to be.

Being a head coach of anything isn’t easy, but if it was easy everyone would be a head coach.

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