Primesport NABC Next Generation is an interview series with assistant coaches and support staff from across the country, highlighting their career experiences and future goals. Today's feature is Texas State director of operations Alex Hausladen.
Why did you decide to become a coach?
“I wanted to get into coaching because I was a naturally competitive person, despite my limited physical abilities. That made my trajectory very easy. Since I had limited abilities holding a ball, I felt my best bet was coaching others with more ability. I always felt that being part of a group or team was something that I gravitated towards, so it made the profession something I strived to be part of. I had participated in multiple sports as a youth, but when my peers got bigger, stronger, faster – I did not. That did not curb my desire to continue, and I found coaching to be the obvious choice.”
How would you describe your coaching and leadership style?
“I believe very strongly in a style I would classify as mentorship. Coaches are authority figures who should teach and be respected in their role, and direct their student-athletes as to the process of how to accomplish tasks. This includes on the court and off the court. While no coach is the same, or perfect, the goal is to ensure that the content being taught is implemented. It is the role of the coach to lead, encourage, motivate, innovate, and communicate in a way that is easily understood by all. Ideally, this should ultimately include the healthy cultures of hard work and discipline created and employed within the program. Further, it is important to have unwavering credibility, so that accurate accountability and assessment can be utilized.”
Aside from knowledge of the game, what skill do you feel is most important for coaches to possess?
“The absolute most important trait a coach can possess is self-awareness. Know yourself. We ask our student-athletes to know themselves, and what they should and should not do. They, however, are maturing young people who we are assisting in their development. As the coaches, we have to be fully confident in what we are and who we are, what our strengths and weaknesses are, and how we will be received so we can communicate most effectively. Many young coaches have an idea of what a coach should look like, probably due to a mixture of upbringing and the coaches they have observed. What we are unaware of is their growth, struggle, and context. You cannot appropriate someone else’s characteristics, as they are due to their unique path and set of experiences, but you can learn from them. As coaches, we must recognize these facets and strive to be the best version of our own selves, while perhaps using small tidbits from others to inform and enhance our actions.”
How do you handle setbacks in your career? And what have you learned from them?
“There are generally a lot more setbacks than successes in the coaching profession. One must take the approach to begin with the end in mind. Sometimes things do not work out the way you anticipated or thought they should have. However, daily preparation is needed to ensure that you are able to achieve and receive success. Since coaching is a zero-sum, often your success may have just gone to a rival or vice-versa, despite near equal effort and preparation on everyone’s part. Coaching is a brotherhood in which we must help each other, so that our peers can obtain recognition, knowing full well that the circle leads back to yourself at a future date.”
What kind of impact – both on the court and off – do you hope to have on your student-athletes?
“On-court, I hope I can assist in guiding each student-athlete to a great experience and to daily improvement. Each student-athlete will have unique experiences, and needs to have individualized attention in varying amounts. If they can improve every day and come within reach of achieving their goals, that is the most a coach can realistically do.”
“Off-court, as stated before, each student-athlete is one of a kind. It is essential to have a unique mentorship relationship to enable them to achieve to their capabilities in the classroom, in the community, and in life. This can extend to helping them find their next profession upon graduation or upon basketball’s conclusion in their life. Finally, I hope that I can give them a ‘something’. I pride myself on work-ethic, diligence, and consistency. If through our relationship they can apply one of these qualities or processes - a ‘something’ - to their personal lives, I feel I have done my job to the best of my ability.”
If you were told to craft a mission statement for your team, what would it say?
“To be a successful team, all people in the program need to buy in to being part of something larger than themselves. We must focus on improvement, and have a valid way of assessing an appropriate objective. We must be open to growth in the areas of being great communicators, so that all members can convey important content, feelings, and perspectives to one another. The team must, in unison, be responsible for being organized, competent, focused, and trustworthy. Individual members are expected to be accountable for daily energy and effort, and gaining, retaining, and using of information in the most prudent and efficient fashion. Finally, each member is collectively responsible for the success of all other members in all aspects on their on-court and off-court lives.”
What’s the one piece of advice you would give a first-year coach?
“Develop a niche. It can be anything, but have a skill, a knowledge base, or something of that nature that you know and can rely on. It may be film, knowing a certain area for scouting and recruiting, advanced scouting, travel and logistics, or anything else you can think of. However, to get your foundation in the business, head coaches need people who can handle at least one area of their program with the highest levels of competence and professionalism. The things that will lead to you to being hired and staying in the profession are adding tangible value to the program and being trusted.”