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The Best Assistant Coaches in the Premier League

Everyone is always focused on the Premier League managers and their strategies behind every game. However, we rarely receive any updates or news regarding their assistant managers. It’s for this very reason that we decided to take a look at the best assistant managers in the Premier League. Telling you what they do and who they are for the biggest teams in the league.

Juan Carlos Carcedo – Arsenal

Simply referred to as Carlos, the Spaniard, who is currently 45 years of age, is building an excellent relationship with players in Arsenal. Even though he doesn’t shy away from constant confrontation. Animated and fiery, if he feels that there is something worth saying, he will undoubtedly say it. He has been Unai Emery’s assistant at six clubs, including PSG, Sevilla, Spartak Moscow, Valencia, and Almeria.

Gianfranco Zola – Chelsea

Luca Gotti and Zola are both assistants for first-team coaches. Gotti as from Bologna, while the reputation of Zola precedes him as he has been voted the most significant player for Chelsea as well as a former England manager. Zola provides support and takes the likes of Ross Barkley, Willian, Pedro, and Eden Hazard for attacking drills. Zola is also considered the bridge between Chelsea players and Sarri, speaking with the team.

Peter Krawietz/Pepijn Lijnders – Liverpool

Zeljko Buvac is the official first assistant coach for Liverpool, even though his 17-year career as ‘the brain’ ended within days before the semi-finals against Roma in the Champions League. Lijnders made his return to Liverpool this summer after a 5-month spell where he was in charge of NEC Eindhoven. Even though he is currently title-less, the former Porto and PSV Eindhoven academy coach collaborates next to Krawietz, a former analyst for Dortmund and former chief scout for Mainz. The training sessions are led by Klopp, while Lijnders and Krawietz take care of daily tactical meetings.

Mikel Arteta – Manchester City

The Spaniard played a crucial role in the Manchester City transformation from third place during the 2016/17 season to record champions last season due to his willingness to provide his take on strategy and tactics. Mikel Arteta is also the bridge between the players and the manager. He is also a prevalent figure in and around the club. When he was doing media duties during the Lyon Champions League in September. This is where the team was defeated, and he was honest, stating that City wasn’t very consistent.

Michael Carrick – Manchester United

Once Rui Faria left in the summer, after 17 years as the assistant coach for Jose Mourinho, the manager declared that he no longer needed a number 2. However, he did state that Michael Carrick would eventually fill the assistant manager role. Even though you will usually see him on the pitch talking to the head coach. No one is quite clear how much pull he has as an assistant coach for Manchester United. However, things have certainly changed since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived at Old Trafford.

The Differences Between Management and Leadership

Great management combined with visionary leadership achieves the best results. Seems obvious right? So how on earth do so many organisations get it wrong, especially when change is needed? There are fundamental differences between management and leadership that apply to any organisation or team. However, the primary focus of this article is to look at the strengths of each because they refer to leading change in any organisation.

The Fundamental Differences

Management is necessarily a set of processes and systems that are designed for problem-solving, staffing, budgeting, and organising. Achieving the best results for an organisation whereas leadership defines the mission, vision, and what a win will look like shortly. This inspires a team to embody the behaviours and beliefs necessary to take action required to achieve those results.

Successful transformations happen when great management converges with visionary, strong leadership. Both are required to plan accordingly, create a clear path, and see a mission plan to achieve fulfilment. Every organisation, small or large, need change more than ever before. Not in a reactive manner but instead in a proactive approach that is embedded in the culture of the organisation. The communication of the overall vision never actually ends when there’s a changing process. It’s infused into every aspect of what managers and leaders do.

However, it’s vital to note the differences between management and leadership, as they relate to the roles the task force of the transformation must take on. A task force of the change is mostly the guiding body created to lead a company or organisation through its transformation. The task force must include front-line managers, senior leaders, and other key members that are respected in their field of expertise.

Most companies and organisations still focus on management development as oppose to leadership development. However, most companies believe its leadership development that they are accomplishing. Individuals might be able to embody both disciplines and qualities. It’s scarce to find someone that is a competent manager and a great visionary leader, and vice versa.

The Power of Management and Great Leadership Combined

When an organisation has poor management capability but great visionary leadership, the overall transformation will only get so far. However, when an organisation has poor visionary leadership but great management capability, the overall vision won’t be powerful enough and will be flawed. Alternatively, it won’t even develop to be completely honest. With marginal management and great leadership, the change will have some significant gains, but it will eventually slow down.

True magic occurs when there’s solid management along with great leadership. There’s no denying that change is a messy business and its never perfect. It usually takes longer than expected, and it’s more costly than initially anticipated. However, with visionary leaders that are supported by phenomenal management, winning results are bound to occur within a company or an organisation.

The Difference Between Mentoring and Coaching

Mentoring and coaching use the same approach and skills. However, coaching is considered short-term task-based, while mentoring is regarded as a long-term relationship. The CIPD differentiates between counselling, mentoring, and coaching. You will also need to keep in mind that these differences are usually delivered by individuals with different relationships and qualifications with their client. The differences between mentoring and coaching can be summarized as follows:


Mentoring is an ongoing relationship that can last for a more extended period. It could be more informal, and meetings are scheduled when the mentee needs support, guidance, or advice. It takes a much broader view of an individual. A mentor is usually more qualified and experienced than the mentee. A senior person within the organisation can generally pass on experience, knowledge, and will be able to open doors to out-of-reach opportunities. The primary focus is on your personal and career development. The mentee sets the agenda, while the mentor offers guidance and support to prepare them for roles in the future. Mentoring is more focused on developing the professional career of the mentee.


Relationships usually have a set duration of time. They are often more structured in nature, while meetings are scheduled quite regularly. Short-term and focused on specific development issues or areas. Coaching is usually not performed on a specific basis where the coach is required to have experience of the formal occupation in the client’s role unless the coaching is skills-focused and specific. The focus is primarily on issues at work or development The agenda is focused mainly on achieving immediate, specific goals. Coaching is based on specific development issues or areas.

Mentoring and Coaching Processes

Management and individual development can occur in several forms, some delivered by external and internal mentors or coaches and some by managers. The different activities are defined as follows:

Guiding – The process of directing a group or individual along a path that leads them from a present state to a more desired state.

Coaching – Assisting another individual to improve awareness, setting and achieving goals to develop a specific behavioural performance.

Teaching – Assisting a group or individual to develop cognitive capabilities and skills.

Mentoring – Assisting to shape an individual’s values and beliefs positively, usually a career relationship over the long term for someone who has done it in the past.

Counselling – Assisting an individual to help them improve performance which can be achieved by resolving situations and scenarios from their past.

Difference between Coaching and Counseling

Coaching is narrower focused, while counselling is in greater depth and broader focused. With coaching, the primary goal is to improve the performance of an individual at work, while counselling is to assist people in understanding the root of their issues or performance at work. Coaching is a short-term intervention, while advice is also considered a short response but can last for long due to the nature of issues that need to be addressed. With coaching, the agenda will be set by an individual, while counselling allows the schedule to be set by both counselor and the individual.

Qualities of a Sports Leader

Every team requires leadership. During difficult situations, players tend to search for a leader within their team, but unfortunately, not everyone has the skillset to successfully lead a team. It requires a special set of characteristics to make it as a sports leader. If you are interested in taking on the mantle within your team, ensure you tick all the requirements below.

Set An Example

As an authority figure and leader, your team members will follow you on any behavioural path of your choosing. Therefore, its vital that you head down the correct pathway for the good of the team. If you are seen raving and ranting at officials and players, or with your head down, or just conduct yourself in a very negative manner, your team members will behave in the same manner. The hardest workers tend to be the best leaders on the pitch which makes them the most respectful in the process.


Awareness is key as a team leader. There’s more than one method when it comes to leadership. A wide range of external factors should influence the approach you decide to take in various scenarios. Spending time with your teammates to build a relationship creates awareness. You need to learn how to react to certain tones and styles. If you suffer a horrible defeat, does your team members react better to a couple of harsh words. Or are the ones that require an arm around the shoulder while they lick their wounds?


Any sport comes with a great deal of passion. You will feel the same range of emotions on the pitch each and every weekend: disappointment when you are defeated and euphoria when you win. As a leader of your team, you will need to embody the positive end of those emotions, including passion, dedication, and commitment, to steer your team towards their own personal goals.


Enthusiasm is a similar quality to passion in a lot of ways and is a vital characteristic for a team leader which can be displayed in several ways. Out on the field, enthusiasm is getting to every ball first and providing encouragement to your team members, or simply motivating your team when things are looking down. Encouragement also encompasses your behaviour on a daily basis as a leader for your team and will usually be more important in the long run.


Coaches, or leaders of a team, will live and die by the decisions they make. As the implementor and creator of a strategy, or a key figure when it comes to decision making, you are required to have the ability and knowledge to stand by your convictions. Leaders are usually elevated into their roles due to their ability. Without the necessary abilities, your authority will immediately become undermined. You will need to strive for skill improvement which will place you in a better position to lead a team. This will also set a perfect example for others to improve their own abilities.

Assistant Coach Duties and Responsibilities

A glimpse and a self-study on assistant coach educational credentials, skills, and responsibilities are just some of the requirements we will look at in this article. The hope is it will enable you to take your career path to the next level. For those that are interested in becoming an assistant coach, you’ve come to the right place. This will allow you to do a quick check to see if you meet all the requirements to become an assistant coach.

Assistant Coach

An assistant coach is essentially a professional whose responsibilities include instructing, guiding, and motivating the sports team while delivering quality coaching to each and every athlete. The duties of an assistant coach include new strategies and developments to formulate effective training protocols.

Responsibilities of an Assistant Coach

•    Supporting the head coach to provide quality coaching which is achieved by motivating the athlete’s ability.

•    Be well-informed of strategies and rules in favour of the team and its players.

•    Assisting the head coach to keep statistics of players, compiling eligibility reports, and making new registrations.

•    Supervising players to overcome their weak areas and to enforce the spirit of the game.

•    Maintaining discipline among players and to assist them in perfecting their skills in both offensive and defensive positions.

•    Work in conjunction with fitness instructors to ensure each athlete delivers their best.

•    Watch and support the development activities of the club and provide equipment to all players.

•    Motivating players to enjoy a free game while building confidence during a loss or keeping players grounded during a win.

Assistant Coach Skill Requirements

•    An assistant coach is required to have in-depth knowledge of the game they wish to specialise in.

•    An assistant coach must have great motivation skills to ensure players deliver their best.

•    Must have an excellent rapport with both the head coach and the members of the team.

•    Must stay well-informed when it comes to new strategies and ensure the team can perfect it in time.

•    Must contain team spirit and must be able to infuse the team spirit into each player or athlete.

•    Must be able to see weaknesses or mistakes by each player and must be able to overcome those mistakes by helping the player.

•    Must have an optimistic approach to encourage each player to deliver better performance.

Assistant Coach Credentials

Apart from the skills and responsibilities of an assistant coach, you will also need the necessary educational qualifications. This will essentially need to consist of a High School Diploma as well as loads of coaching experience. Your all-round knowledge and love for the game will also count when you apply for an assistant coach position. Seeing that this is basically a senior position, you will also need experience in matches on either an international, national or local level.

Assistant Coach Career Scope

If you meet all the requirements and experience mentioned above, there is no reason why you will not be able to choose the career path of an assistant coach. Good Luck!

Sports Coaching as a Career Path

A sports coach essentially organises professional and amateur athletes while teaching them the fundamentals of a specific sport. They also need to train them to compete individually or as a team. You will also find coaches that are required to recruit new players for professional and college teams.

Quick Facts about Sports Coaches

•    In 2015, the annual earnings for a sports coach were around $31,000.

•    Combined with athletic scouts, sports coaches held around 251,000 jobs during 2014.

•    Most sports coaches worked at educational institutions, such as colleges and high schools, while others worked for community organisations.

•    Sports coaches have a fantastic job outlook as employment will grow just as fast as average occupations through to 2024.

Job Duties

There are typical job duties that sports coaches need to excel in to become a successful coach for an athlete or team, including:

•    Problem solving

•    Assistance in recruiting and scouting activities

•    Instruct and teach all aspects of the sport

•    Foster great character and promote sportsmanship in student athletes

•    Supervise students in locker rooms and practice areas

•    Establish rapport and encourage athlete participation

•    Maintain uniforms and equipment

Educational Requirements

Coaches in high schools or colleges are usually teachers which means they are required to meet all qualifications for their occupation. This means they will need a bachelor’s degree at the very least. Degrees that specifically relate to coaching will often include sports medicine, physical education, fitness and nutrition, kinesiology, physiology, sports science, and exercise.

Most employers will usually expect that the coach they hire to have experience in the sport they wish to coach. Those that worked in public schools, such as high schools, must be certified. This usually requires training in first aid and CPR as well as coaching fundamentals and sports safety.

How to Advance As a Sports Coach

It’s highly likely that you will start your coaching career as an assistant coach. Once you gained the necessary experience and knowledge, you will have a greater chance of becoming a head coach. If you are interested in competing at the highest level of a sport in school, you will be required to have substantial experience as an assistant or head coach from a smaller school. However, if you are interested in coaching a professional sport, you will need years of experience along with a winning record to get anywhere.

What Employers Will Expect From You

Apart from gaining the necessary experience and skills to become a coach, most employers will also look for other qualities before they will hire you. These qualities include:

•    Attention to accuracy and detail as well as demonstrating an organisational ability

•    Must be able to give precise and clear directions

•    Must have good judgment and safety awareness

•    Positive, fun, and enthusiastic attitude

•    Must have knowledge of diverse populations and cultures

•    You will be required to immerse yourself in a specific sport and ensure that you are up-to-date with the latest techniques and training methods to excel

•    A background check is always required

Unscientific Methods Used by Coaches in Sport

Sports coaches are constantly under pressure to improve the performance of their teams and athletes. With good intentions, they usually turn to the most recently hyped psychological ideas and techniques – many of which are rarely supported by scientific evidence. The techniques provided below are widely utilised by sports coaches. However, none of them are backed up by scientific evidence.

Learning Styles

Some people learn by watching a technique or skill, known as visual learning. Some people learn by listening to a description of a certain skill, known as auditory learning, and some people learn by practising the skill or movement, known as kinaesthetic learning. This is a belief that is widely promoted by governing bodies in sport, and most coaches believe that athletes and teams have their own unique learning style. However, there’s no evidence that learning will improve by kinaesthetic, auditory, or visual coaching styles.

Neuro-linguistic Programming

Practitioners of neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP, claims that eye movements can reveal thoughts. For instance, when an athlete looks up to the right or left, they will try and visualise something. However, when an athlete is looking down to the right, they think about feelings. Sports coaches that use this information to identify what a person is thinking about and then assist them to change their thoughts.

Brain Gym

This essentially includes a series of simplistic movements, including touching your right heel with your left hand and then your left heel with your right hand, or placing an index finger and thumb on either side of the chest bone while your other hand will rub your stomach. The primary objective of these simplistic movements is to make more efficient movements and to improve overall coordination. It also helps to increase focus, concentration, and motivation.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

There are plenty of sports organisations that utilise Myers-Briggs which is basically a questionnaire which assesses the type of personality of an athlete to assist them in deciding whether or not to recruit them to the programme or team. The questionnaire also assists coaches to help them understand how a player makes decisions and behaves in order to communicate more effectively. Although this method is extremely popular, there are those that have concerns about it. For instance, most believe that it classifies athletes into a broad category, including extrovert and introvert. However, this approach is regarded as far too simplistic and doesn’t completely capture the complexity of one’s personality.

Action Types

This is basically a combination of practices to boost an athlete’s brain, learning styles, and movement styles that are very similar to that of Brain Gym. Coaches state that it assists them in understanding their team or athletes better and allows athletes to understand their bodies much better. However, since information regarding this approach is extremely hard to come by, we can conclude that this method is not credible among coaches. Sports coaches should rely on evidence-based techniques to improve the performance of their teams and athletes.

Coaching Techniques for Assisting Injured Athletes

Injury is quite common when it comes to sports participation. You can ask any athlete who will tell you that injuries are one of the primary setbacks they experience when playing sports. There are several issues that athletes will face apart from physical pain when a sports injury occurs. Suffering from an injury can stop their training which usually has a negative effect on how they view themselves.

Furthermore, it can remove the positive effect that athletes gain from sports, including sense of control, mastery, and autonomy. Injuries can also be considered a setback for those that use sport as a way to deal with stress. In addition, emotional reactions will differ greatly among athletes when it comes to an injury. Things like fatigue, lack of motivation, tension, anxiety, anger, and fear are common occurrences. Thankfully, there are several coaching techniques which can assist athletes to bounce back from an injury.

Be Empathic

Ensure that your athletes are aware that you know what they are going through and that you understand. Don’t expect them to simply suck it up or shake it off. Give your athletes time to deal with their feelings. Your genuine care and empathy will go a long way to strengthen the athlete-coach relationship.

Provide An Important Role In The Team

You can assist injured athletes to overcome their sense of worthlessness by providing a different job within the team until they are healed. Jobs like consultant or assistant coach will work well. Ask for their input or opinion during competitions or practice. Making them feel important will play a vital role on their feelings.

Avoid Your Athlete From Becoming Isolated in the Team

Ensure that your injured athlete continues to be an important factor in your team. You will need to assign team members to monitor athletes that are injured and ensure that they intervene when the athlete starts isolating themselves from the team. Actively reach out to the injured athlete which will have a powerful impact of positivity on their feelings.

Self-Esteem is Key

You will need to be mindful that the athlete who is injured is feeling rather vulnerable after enduring a massive blow to their self-worth and feelings. Ensure that the injured athlete is well-aware that you still value them as a person through words and actions. Never act disinterested and always remember that it’s your responsibility to reach out to the injured athlete.

Take Small Steps To Get The Athlete Back in Practice

Whether its mental techniques or limited physical training, ensure your injured athlete is well aware that you expect them to continue their training sessions. You can give them special sessions to fit their injury limitations and make sure you check up on them regularly to see how they are progressing.

Should your injured athlete be depressed, its vital that you utilise professional counselling, especially if it lingers on after trying to assist them by yourself.

Books All Coaches Need to Read

Coaches have a wide variety of styles and beliefs on what they want to educate their players with when it comes to coaching philosophy. The benefit that comes for this is that great coaches manage to write books in order to share their coaching philosophies with the world. Although the philosophy and style of each coach vary greatly, they all share one common trait: They read books to become better coaches. The best coaches in the world are essentially students of the game and they always do research to become greater. Below, we included a list of books that will help you become a better leader, better person, and a better coach for your players.

The Cubs Way

There’s no better way to learn how to create a winning team than by reading how the Chicago Cubs managed to break their 108-year-old curse. The book will give you insight into how Theo Epstein, the Cubs team president, managed to create a formula for a winning recipe that allowed the Cubs to break the curse.

Coach Wooden and Me

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, an NBA legend, had a sincere love for John Wooden, his college basketball coach. In his tribute to the influence Wooden had on him as a person and a player, Wooden and Me is a truly remarkable story on how the bond between coach and player can be something extremely special. The book comes equipped with intimate experiences and stories that impacted the NBA legend profoundly while playing in the UCLA.

You Win in the Locker Room First

If you are a coach that wants to better the lives of players on the field, you merely need to look at Mike Smith, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. In his book, you will find a step-by-step strategy that will allow you to build a successful organization. You will find the rules for leaders and coaches in any type of sport to develop a winning culture and you will be able to become a steadfast and calm leader in the process.

Win Forever

If you are interested in becoming a winner, you must read Win Forever by Yogi Roth and Pete Carroll. Coach Carroll is considered one of the most successful football coaches in the world who is currently the head coach for the Seattle Seahawks. In his book, he provides a unique coaching style after testing various philosophies. He provides everything you need to create a winning program, from daily routines to recruiting.

The Score Takes Care of Itself

This is another fantastic story that revolves around taking a losing program and turning it into a winning formula through the eyes of Bill Walsh, a former head coach for the 49ers. In this book, Walsh discusses how he shaped the game during his career. What’s truly impressive is that this book can be incorporated into all walks of life in sports and business. Walsh was an extremely effective leader and creative genius.

Different Styles of Coaching

There are generally three different types of coaching styles available in sports including holistic, democratic, and autocratic. Each of these coaching styles has drawbacks and benefits and it’s vital to understand each and every one of them. For every coach, a personal coaching style needs to be established which will require a decent grasp on their natural tendencies and it usually involves elements that work in conjunction with each of the three coaching styles mentioned above.

Autocratic Coaching

The best way to explain this style of coaching is with a phrase: “My way or the highway.” Coaches that utilize an autocratic coaching style will make decisions with limited or no input from players. The coach essentially articulates his vision for what is required from his players and expects his players to perform accordingly. This is basically a win-focused coaching style and usually features inflexible structures when it comes to training. Autocratic coaching is best suited for team sports as opposed to individual sports.

Democratic Coaching

This coaching style sounds exactly like the name implies. Coaches that use democratic coaching will facilitate the decision-making process and goal-setting requirements with loads of input from their players as opposed to dictating them. This is essentially an athlete-centred style of coaching where the athletes have the ability to shape their very own objectives within a framework that has been outlined by the coach. Coaches that utilize the democratic coaching style provide plenty of autonomy to teams and players who collaborate in their own direction and development. This is a coaching style that is best suited for individual sports, such as track and field and tennis events.

Holistic Coaching

Also referred to as “laissez-faire” coaching, this unique style of coaching is based on the popular theory that a happy player or team will naturally become a successful player or team. You will notice that very little will be offered when it comes to positive feedback and structured training. Instead, the coach that utilizes the holistic coaching style works to develop an environment where players can pursue their skills development and feel more comfortable in their own way and in their own time. The coach will not have central authority, allowing the team or player to set their own unique agendas. This style of coaching is best used for mature players who already managed to develop self-awareness and creativity to guide themselves.

Which Style is Right for You?

Simply deciding on one of the above-mentioned styles isn’t an option for most coaches. There’s only a handful of leaders that solely fall into one coaching style as philosophy and personal experience shape coaching approaches as well. Coaching skills are essentially the same skills that are used in military, academic, and professional settings which can be arranged around a couple of key principles. Basically, a team or player should improve on their skills at the end of the season and a coach needs to know the difference between results and effort.