I’ve just finished reading an article on the AFL’s website and I’ve gotta say… I’m confused.
The article is called ‘Assisting the Assistants‘ and the jist of it is that assistant coaches find their jobs taking a toll on their personal lives, so says a a survey by the AFL Coaches Association. I understand that and I believe it. Coaching at any level is demanding and at the professional level, when there is a flag on the line, the pressures are amplified and the duties are increased exponentially.
But here’s the part I don’t understand: why don’t they just get some help? I can say, with absolute certainty, that there are people who would gladly become an assistant to an assistant coach (for example, you know, ME). And I can also say with (almost) absolute certainty that most people would be willing to do it for free (again, I am an excellent example of this). I have sent several internship proposal letters and volunteer inquiries to several AFL teams and no one has ever mentioned that the assistant coach needs a PA. I would have taken that position in a heartbeat. And I know I am not the only one.
Most other industries have assistants for the assistants – my last job was Project Assistant to the Assistant Director, Operations at the Australian National Maritime Museum (which, by the way, I loved and was good at!). Why can’t it happen in sport?
I’m sure that some things an assistant coach handles are confidential and I know that an assistant would not be the entire solution (they need contract and responsibility renegotiation between their association and the league, for starters) but I have to imagine that if they had me (or someone like me – I can’t help EVERY assistant coach in the league!) there to fill out some paper work, send some emails, book some travel, buy some anniversary presents and pick up some dry cleaning, even if it was just two days a week,… their lives would be a lot easier. No?
I’m just throwing it out there: John Blakey, Dean Brogan, Stuart Dew, Stuart Edge, James McDonald, Henry Playfair, Luke Power, Leigh Tudor and Mark Williams (that’s alphabetical – not my assistant coach preference) you let me know if you want an assistant. I can be in your office by 9 am tomorrow.