AFL coaches association chief executive Danny Frawley says clubs risk burning out their assistant coaches if they ignore new findings on stress levels.
AFL-funded research released on Wednesday found 98 per cent of assistant coaches experienced high psychological distress.
And on average, they did not want to stay in the industry for more than six years.
Frawley said when he became Richmond’s head coach in 2000, there were 46 assistant coaches AFL-wide.
Now there are 150, each working an average 70 hours per week in-season, and Frawley said the pressure had grown while the prospect of becoming a head coach had shrunk.
“Now the aim is to educate clubs on the fact you’ve got some really good people here, we don’t want a burnout factor,” Frawley told reporters.
Carlton assistant Alan Richardson said he hoped the findings would prompt clubs to give coaches more career development and family time.
“It’s such a fantastic job, but there are real stresses,” he said.
“If the managers understand that and can look for opportunities to give us the time to do our own professional development or, when the time is right, to spend a little bit more time with your family, that would be a real win.”
The AFLCA also announced a new position of career and professional development manager, enabled by increased AFL funding.