Organizational Structure and Positions | (2023)

Organizational Structure and Positions | (1)

Staff and Organizational Structure - Key Positisions

The structure of a club staff often includes the following groups in a tiered system:

Board of Directors

⇒ Executive Staff (icl. administrative assistants and other "administration" such as business manager, development director, etc.)

⇒ Head Coach/Program Director(s)

⇒ Assistant Coaches

⇒ Volunteers

In some organizations, the same individual may hold more than one of these positions and volunteers from within your community or board of directors may hold some. This does not necessarily need to be an overly hierarchical system, but clear roles and responsibilities at each level are imperative.

In USSA clubs individuals often have responsibilities in many different areas of the organizational structure. The art of wearing many hats, and understanding what hat you are wearing at any one time is vital to the functioning of an organization.

Many sport clubs do not have written job descriptions for coaches or if they do, a majority of coaches report not having seen them. Job descriptions are essential in outlining each coach’s role and expectations. The USSA recommends the following general descriptions to get you started in defining your staff’s roles and responsibilities.

It is understood that many USSA Clubs do not have the infrastructure to employ people in all of these positions. In that case it is stillimportant for the club and club leadership to discuss how the various functions and tasks represented by these positions may still be performed via existing staff, volunteers, partners, or community resources.

Key Positions

Executive Director:An Executive Director’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to: organizational leadership and strategic planning, financial management and fundraising, marketing and event oversight, staffing and day-to-day organizational operations. See the leadership chapter for additional detail.

Executive Administrative Assistant:Provide high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, financial accounting and reporting, handling information requests and performing clerical functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls and scheduling meetings. May also train and supervise lower-level clerical staff.

Other Administrative Staffmay include: Business Manager/Director, Communications Manager/Director, Development Manager/Director

Head Coach/Program Director:This position is essential to achievement of the athletic goals of the club’s sports program. The head coach provides the leadership and direction for the program based on expertise, experience and the agreed upon athletic plan. This position must be filled with an individual who is results oriented, strives to lead, is a team player, operates with integrity and is a good communicator.

Individuals holding this position should have a current USSA Level 300 certification in alpine and snowboarding or Level 200 certification in freestyle and cross country (cross country Level 200 rolls out fall 2013). The individual should also have had experience coaching and leading programs and must possess the basic skills and experience necessary to make good athletic decisions.

Primary Responsibilities include:

  • Direct the athletes and staff to achieve the highest goals possible personally and professionally in a manner that has integrity with a focus on performance and sportsmanship

  • Training and competition program planning and evaluation

  • Coach and staff management

    • Staff selection and compensation

    • Staff review and feedback

    • Staff training and mentoring program

    • Individual athlete goal setting by team as executed by the staff

    • Oversee that competition plans are followed and modified as necessary to meet the individual athlete needs as well as the agreed upon philosophies and plans.

      Assistant Coach:Assistant coaches will assist the head coach in creating a training plan for athletes and execute the training plan on a daily basis. The assistant coaches should be required to attend particular races with lodging/transportation provided by the club. On an as-needed basis he/she will be called upon to assist with additional training programs. The assistant coach will prepare athletes for races. Look for complementary skill sets in assistant coaches. For example, one may have expertise in equipment, one may be certified in strength and conditioning and another may be an expert on video technology.

      Ski, Board and Boot Service Technician(s):Responsible for maintaining all winter and snow related equipment within the club’s shop or tuning room. Direct responsibilities include: performing ski repairs for ski/rider participants,bootwork (ability to do canting, fitting and other general boot modifications),providing information on equipment use and safety, assuming additional responsibilities as necessary and supporting the programs and functions of the club program.For most clubs it is acceptable to have this as a supplementary job duty for a coach or coaches with expertise in the equipment domain.

      Sports Psychologist(s):Determining the identified need to address or problem to be solved is the first step in including any of these types of service providers in your program or club – or employing someone within your organization. There are many different categories of professions (and not-so- professional categories) that purport to deal with the cognitive, emotional or spiritual aspects of sports. Helping to develop an athlete's career in all aspects of sport, including the mental skills and approach, is contained within the primary definition of a coach. Therefore, it should first be determined what a specialist or consultant brings to the athlete's preparation and competitive program that the coach does not.

      Among the issues facing such a selection is the American concept of psychology that has been anchored in a medical model for most of the history of the field. Psychology, as a profession, has been primarily associated with mental deficiencies, pathologies or illness. Recently there has been a paradigm shift to emphasize what is being called positive psychology that focuses on mental health.

      Positive psychology asks - what makes for a good life and constructs such as positivity, flourishing, optimism, hope, happiness and resiliency?

      These skills reflect the reality that development of mental skills in sport and life is a social process. Athletes develop within the context of sound relationships, particularly with family, fellow athletes, coaches and fellow students.

      Performance, especially high-level performance at all ages, is a profoundly mental activity. Specific mental skills and techniques have been shown to enhance performance. These skills can be learned, many at an early age. The mental domain takes on more importance as the level of competition increases, becoming the dominant characteristic of competition performance at the highest levels.

      First identify what issue needs to be addressed, what problem needs to be solved, or what skill needs to be learned or refined before deciding whether there is a need for engaging this type of expertise.

      That will guide you in seeking out the type of specialist best suited to the task. Consider using this type of expertise to help train and support your coaching staff in these areas such that they are able to place more emphasis on this element of their coaching.

      Good referral sources include The High Performance Department at USSA in Park City, UT, the USOC Sport Psychology Department in Colorado Springs, CO, or the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

      Athletic Trainer:The club athletic trainer will work with coaches and athletes in order to progress or maintain overall health, fitness, performance and endurance. Trainers typically provide scientific support at various levels to athletes and teams within a single sport or several sports. This may involve monitoring training through the measurement and assessment of such physical functions as respiration, metabolism, body composition, muscle, nutrition, and the nervous, pulmonary and cardiovascular systems. The physical trainer should be a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, certified through USA Weightlifting, or have some other form of formal certification. Working with a university program to get a qualified sport science intern can also be a great option for a club, particularly if a lead coach is a CSCS but doesn’t have the time to effectively manage this program on their own.

      Medical Coordinator:The primary role of the club’s medical coordinator is to assist club athletes and support staff in the achievement of excellence and success in all aspects of competition and training. A fundamental component of this program is the provision of effective medical support to ensure that all club athletes receive appropriate medical treatment of the highest possible standard. In this regard, the main role of the medical coordinator is to ensure that all medical services are directed and utilized according to the best interests of the club and the athletes whom it supports. This person is most often a volunteer from the community who may have an athlete involved in the program. This person would be responsible for concussion management and education within the club and would also oversee rehabilitation and return to sport programs.

      Academic Coordinator:Your club should appoint an academic coordinator with a teaching certificate or a coach, if necessary, to act as a liaison between club activities and the local school system. The responsibilities undertaken by this person include:

  • Monitor grades, progress of athletes.

  • Arrange tutoring and study times.

  • Communicate with school about schedules.

  • Organize pre-arranged absences.

  • Conduct conferences for academic goal setting.

  • Assist with college and university applications.

It is recommended that your club establish a written policy concerning minimum grade standards for participation in activities that both the athletes and parents will sign. This statement should include that they have read and understand the academic responsibilities, in which, athletes submit an academic plan, including short and long-term academic goals.

Media Coordinator:Media Coordinators oversee the media and promotional efforts of the club, supporting efforts in creating a brand and identity for the club and to promote the athletic and community achievements of the program and its athletes. This position will ensure quality control of publications, websites and electronic communications, ensuring a quality image of the club. The media coordinator is especially effective in helping to promote major events and creating photo and video libraries.

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