Sep 14, 2018
An Important Assistant
David Hoch

Looking for a great student manager is a lot like looking for a great assistant coach. And since a student manager really is another assistant in the truest sense of the word, many of the ideal qualities are actually the same!

To find a student manager who will do an excellent job, it’s important to know what qualities to look for. Seek out a young person who is:

Dependable: You need a student manager who can show up on time, ready to handle all of their duties during a practice session or game. Of course, this is also what you need of your players and assistant coach, but this trait is especially important in a manager.

Responsible: When given a task, does this person complete it to the best of their ability? A good student manager will not forget assignments, and jobs will be done as requested and on time.

Able to follow directions: In addition to doing things as requested, a good manager pays attention to all of the details involved.

Motivated: Needless to say, the position of student manager means doing a lot of things behind the scenes that simply have to be done. This means that an effective student manager has to put in great effort, perhaps with limited direct supervision.

Now that you have selected a student manager, what should you ask them to do? Below are some typical duties you can realistically expect from a young person in this role.

Maintain the daily practice plan. While you may have a copy of the practice plan in your back pocket or waist band, a good student manager can provide verbal cues to keep you on pace and within the allotted time. For example, he or she can let you know when there is one minute left in the current drill, or remind you of the next activity.

Take statistics during drills and games. Depending upon the student’s background, you may have to teach him or her what to look for and how to record it. But once trained, your manager should be able to take statistics and add game results to the season totals.

Pack for away games. Following a checklist, your manager should be able to assemble all items needed for away games, such as extra uniforms, water bottles, ice, balls for warm-up, and anything else that is routinely required. He or she should also be able to account for these items in preparation for the return trip.

Help issue uniforms and equipment. This task could include recording the items for individual players’ files and team inventory forms.

Assist with drills. He or she can serve as a passer or rebounder in basketball drills, for example, or retrieve balls in other sports. Your manager should be able to generally take the place of an assistant coach or even a player in some drills. This can free up a coach to help instruct and correct mistakes athletes make in the drills.

Call in the box score to the local newspaper. Admittedly, this would be a more advanced responsibility and one that would require a more experienced manager. However, a knowledgeable student, properly trained, can take care of this task.

Of course, situations and settings will vary. Include anything else on your list that will help ensure the smooth operation of practice. Student managers can perform any number of tasks, freeing you up to spend more time instructing athlete.

There is one task, however, that student managers should not be asked to do. Student managers should not clean up after players. Players need to take care of their own uniforms and equipment, and managers should not serve as their cleaning crew. Student managers serve as assistants to the coaching staff and need to be treated with respect, consideration, and appreciation.

David Hoch retired in 2010 after a 41-year career as a high school athletic director and coach. In 2009, Dr. Hoch was honored as the Eastern District Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. He was also presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2000 he was named the Maryland State Athletic Director Association's Athletic Director of the Year. Dr. Hoch has authored over 460 professional articles and made more than 70 presentations around the country. He welcomes comments and questions and can be reached at: [email protected].

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