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Analytics4Coaches.com Landing a Job as a Video Coordinator
The crowd vying for video coordinator jobs is a dense one, but these tips will help you break through the noise. Analytics 4 Coaches currently partners with the NBA Assistant Coaches Program (ACP) for (9) months every year to mentor and train up to 15 former WNBA and NBA players in (ACP) on the latest basketball software-Hudl, Hudl Sportscode 11 & 12, FastModel Sports, JustPlay Sports, Synergy and Second Spectrum.
As more teams embrace the combined power of stats and video, video coordinator jobs have emerged at a growing rate. The quest for any edge, no matter how small it may seem, is a never-ending one, and organizations are truly beginning to grasp the value that video coordinators bring to the table.
Despite the growth of the profession, actually locking down one of the coveted positions remains a battle. If you want a seat at the table, you’re going to have to fight for it. It’s going to take a blend of skill, determination, persistence and luck.
But, according to several video coordinators we’ve spoken with recently, the trek up the mountain is well worth it. We reached out to them to get their top tips on snagging a video coordinator job.
One of the most overused cliches in job searches is, “It’s all about who you know.” This line holds a good deal of truth, but simply having a stocked Rolodex isn’t enough. You have to build relationships with those people and prove your ability and work ethic.
Take the advice of Ted Owens, who spent six seasons in various roles at Oklahoma State and Nebraska before landing the head coaching job at Carrollwood Day High in Tampa, Fla., this offseason. Owens used his connections to originally become a graduate assistant under then-coach Lon Kruger at Oklahoma State. Once Kruger saw Owens’ talent and value, he recommended his assistant to Miles.
“I think you’ve got to put yourself out there, work camps, and meet as many different people as you can,” Owens said. “Most people in the profession want to help other people. They might not always share all their plays, but I think for the most part college coaches and high school coaches who get it want to help people and they want to help the game.
In order to get coaches to stump for you to their peers (or hire you themselves), you must prove yourself worthy of that praise. The video coordinator for the Boston Celtics, makes a point of arriving at the facility before the coaching staff each morning so he can be ready for them. They depend on his early reports, and he delivers.
Prepare for the unexpected. Days rarely proceed exactly as you planned when you wake up, so set yourself up for any surprises.
“There are always predictable and unpredictable aspects to your workflow,” he said. “Whether it’s a game day or non-game day, you have no idea how the way that the last game played out is going to affect what you do on a given day. That’s the nature of the business. Every day is different.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small
Most aspiring video coordinators have dreams of nabbing a lower-tier job with an NBA or Division I squad and working their way up the ladder. While this road map is certainly possible, it’s not the only path available.
You will likely have to start at a lower-tier college to get your foot in the door, and you may have to do it for little or no money.
“It’s all a part of the process and all part of learning how bad you really want this,” Weston Strayer, the Assistant Director of Basketball Operations at Radford, said. “You have to have a great support system around you to help you through it, because it is a great commitment and it’s hard to know that sometimes you’ve earned a master’s degree and I’m watching friends blowing up in business jobs or doing other things, and sometimes I feel stuck behind. But it’s all about keeping your eyes on the big picture and knowing that you’re working towards that goal.”
But no matter how small your role might seem, getting involved in meaningful ways and making your coaches’ lives easier will earn you experience and the respect of the coaching staff.
“Just put yourself out there, take risks, take some jobs that maybe don’t pay a whole lot,” Owens said. “Just do whatever you can do to get in, whether that’s high school on a freshman or a JV team. Just get your foot in the door and prove yourself.”
Find Your Niche
Try to find something specific that you bring to the table better than anyone else does. It will build trust amongst the coaches and increase your value.
Zak Boisvert did just this with website. He created tip videos, play breakdowns and coaching edits. Once his content gained traction, he was wanted at speaking events and gained more than 5,000 YouTube subscribers.
Owens found his niche by creating in-depth, comprehensive player packets at AAU tournaments. That effort caught the eye of Miles, who was searching for a new member for Nebraska’s administrative staff. Owens’ hard work and ingenuity gave him a leg up on other candidates.
“I wanted to make an effort to be someone that would do anything and everything to help the program out,” Owens said. “Coach Kruger was sitting next to coach Miles at one tournament and coach Miles said, ‘Hey, who makes these books for you?’ And he said, ‘My GA, Teddy Owens, does.’ And Miles said, ‘Would you mind if I talked to him about an opening?’ We started talking and had a lot of stuff in common. We kind of hit it off and he gave me the opportunity to come to Nebraska.”
Don’t Limit Yourself
For many individuals, becoming a video coordinator is the destination of a lifelong dream. The responsibility of breaking down stats and video for the smartest minds in sports is a true honor.
But don’t shoehorn yourself into that role alone. Different opportunities can arise along your career path, and it’s important to position yourself as a versatile person who can perform a variety of functions. Keep your mind open to different roles, as they can not only open new career paths but also make you more attractive to potential employers.
This was huge for Strayer, who spent a year as an assistant coach at a Division II program before moving to Radford this year. He got experience in recruiting, marketing and sports information, experiences that greatly strengthened his resume.
“That helped to sell me to coaches in this next cycle, to be able to say, ‘I’ve done some of the things that most people who are looking at this job haven’t done,’” Strayer said. “It gave me a little bit of a leg up.
“If you can sell yourself on someone that you’re not one-dimensional, it really helps make you out as someone who can handle all these roles and help a program as a whole as opposed to just one specific area.”
The market for video coordinators is a crowded one, and the competition is fierce. But digesting and finding value in video is a labor of love. If you are truly invested in analysis, you won’t mind the long hours or low pay.
And the payoff, according to those currently in the position, is more than worth it. If you can develop trust, prove your worth and develop strong connections that will vouch for you, the opportunity to find a career exists. If you have any further skills or experiences you believe help in starting a career as a video coordinator, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
NBA-Assistant Coaches Program Offers Former Players a Path to Become Coaches
BYVIK CHOKSHI Earlier this month, the NBA community converged in Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine. Along with draft prospects, much of the “who’s who” of the basketball world were in attendance.
Off the court, another competition was taking place among former players: The NBA’s Assistant Coaches Program (ACP).
Rory Sparrow, Vice President of NBA Player Development, has helped players transition into the career world many times, guiding them to other roles within the NBA. Although, he said, that is easier said than done. “There are 30 teams, with 15 players on each team, but when it comes to coaching, there are only three assistant coaching spots, with very low turnover,” he explains. “Once you are done with basketball, the odds are also stacked against you to become a coach. While they were playing, there were guys coaching, going back to school, learning analytics.
“They have to be able to understand and develop a philosophy, communicate effectively and get players to buy in and execute.”
Since the ACP’s inception in 1988, approximately 60% of participants have secured coaching jobs at the NBA, G League or collegiate level. Phoenix Suns Head Coach Monty Williams and Jerry Stackhouse, who was named head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores in April, are two timely examples of successful alumni.
In an effort to grow the program, Sparrow brought in his former Knicks teammate Butch Carter, who has gotten creative with the program in the last three years.
Carter claims to have kept every note from every practice and game since playing at Indiana University in the 1970s. After playing 361 NBA games in six seasons and one year in the Continental Basketball Association, he took his first head coaching job at his alma mater, Middletown High School in Ohio. Carter later landed assistant coaching jobs with Long Beach State, Dayton, the Milwaukee Bucks and eventually the Toronto Raptors. In 1997-98 he replaced the fired Darrell Walker midseason and would serve as the Raptors’ head coach for two and a half seasons, coaching a team built around young stars Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady.
Carter is an analytic savant who was ahead of the curve, developing his first model in 1998. He also started Analytics 4 Coaches, a company that helps coaches become more successful by understanding advanced stats. Carter’s model is designed to accelerate winning and player development, and it is used by the ACP’s candidates.“If they go in and learn the software portion of the program: Slack for communication, JustPlay, FastScout, FastDraw, Synergy, SportsCode for the Basketball side and Excel and Powerpoint for presentations, they will be ready for what comes next,” Carter says. “Our goal here is to prepare them in every way possible to become the best and most qualified coaches. In fact, we want to over-qualify them.”
Analytics are just one piece of the coaching puzzle. Carter has put together an entire curriculum, including a classroom element, on-court training and mentorship portion. The ACP provides résumé building, communication training and real coaching experience for every candidate in the program. Participants learn networking skills, along with how to write scouting reports, game plans and player evaluations. At the end of the program, ACP’s decision-makers identify the two best candidates out of the group of ten and place them as G League assistant coaches. Both Sparrow and Carter hope for that number to increase in the future, and of course, that does not hold back ACP attendees from getting jobs on their own.
A number that has already shown a rapid increase: the presence of women. After all, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver just said if he had his way, 50% of candidates would be women. www.analytics4coaches.com
Becky Hammon and Nancy Lieberman have made waves at the NBA level. Former WNBA player Edniesha Curry became the first woman to serve as a full-time assistant coach at the NCAA Division 1 men’s level this past season, joining the staff at Maine. Curry trained in the ACP and is a mentor in the program.
Yolanda Moore, a 2-time WNBA champion, heard about the program through Curry.
“As a player, you are only responsible for knowing your position, sharpening what you are good at,” Moore says. “When you are a coach, you are responsible for all positions, the staff, giving the players a baseline knowledge of everything, then expanding on that knowledge and communicating.” David Noel played at UNC and briefly for the Bucks before playing roughly a decade overseas. After retiring in 2017, he has been a coach at his alma mater, Southern High School, in Durham. But coming to the ACP can help him elevate his skills in a unique way.
“Fast Draw, Fast Scout, Synergy, SportsCode, this was my first time diving into those programs, Noel says. “The learning that we are doing here and the details that go into preparing for a game is what is used at the NBA level. As a player, you come in and your scouting report is already there, but you don’t understand the time and work that goes into preparing that report.”
Xavier Silas, who has bounced back and forth between the NBA G League and Big3 in recent years, also runs his own club basketball team in Colorado. For him, the biggest eye-opener when it comes to being a coach vs. player was understanding the hours that coaches put into their jobs.
“As a basketball player, you come in, you exert a lot of energy for three or four hours a day on the court, and you are usually done,” Silas says. “As a coach, it is not as much energy, physically, but mentally you are there all day, preparing, putting in the hours. It’s 24/7 as a coach. As a player, it is not.”
Beno Udrih, who won two NBA championships, discovered his new dream before retirement. READ MORE: BUILD LINK
While coaching seemed simple as a player, Udrih has already met some of the challenges within the ACP.
“First, the technology,” he says. “Not a lot of former players go from player to head coach. That is why it is important for them to learn all of the softwares, especially the video component of it. Without the ACP, we wouldn’t have had all the tools we need to succeed and would have had to learn everything on our own. Second, just being thrown out there and actually coaching. Everybody’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I can coach,’ but it is very different when you are actually out there. You have to make the decisions on the fly.”
Carter calls the current program a “six-month military boot camp” and says it is a lot to process in such a short amount of time. He and Sparrow hope to turn it into a one-year program. Coach Carter also hopes to increase the total pool of candidates. Currently, the program caps at ten candidates, despite a high volume of applicants. Carter wants that number closer to 30-40.
“Eventually we’d like to upgrade to a better software platform,” he also notes. “That upgrade will then allow us to not only increase our total number of candidates, but also have a place where all the coaches in various leagues can login to view all of the qualified candidates bios.”
Down the road, the program may include a "Certificate of Completion" candidates earn when they “graduate” the program.
With the success of the ACP so far, Rory Sparrow and Butch Carter hope more former players will take advantage of the opportunity, and in turn, keep giving back to the NBA family.
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