Soccer, like all other youth sports, is meant to provide your children with an opportunity to have fun in a group environment. Learning how to love and enjoy an activity like soccer is the key to progress. The role of the coach is critical in this process.
Here are some basic tips on how a Coach can have a positive influence on the development of his or her players:
1) Set the tone with the parents
a) Think of your team as a class and the practice as a classroom.
b) At the classes the only teachers are the coaches.
c) Parents need to be supportive of the children by supporting you as the teacher. There cannot be one or two coaches at practice and twenty on game day.
d) Too many people directing and yelling from the sidelines only confuses the players and is detrimental to a positive learning environment
e) Address these issues early with all of the adults and challenge them to adhere to your team rules to benefit the players.
f) Hold a team meeting before the start of the season to review rules, expectations for player and team support by parents, sideline behavior, respect of referees and coaches and respect of opposing players.
2) Lead by example
a) In many ways, the team will reflect your individual personality traits. If you are calm, the team will be calm. If you are positive, so will the players be.
b) If you are negative or reactionary, the team will act similarly. Be aware of your influence on the children.
3) Focus on growth and not the game results
a) The most important measuring device for a coach is in the team’s ability to progress as both individuals and as a team collectively.
b) If there is a continued focus on the development and progression of the team and children, the wins and results will take care of themselves.
4) Let your players dictate their level of competition
a) Create opportunities where players can dictate their willingness to compete.
b) Build time into practice where players can play without constant structure and instruction.
5) Be respectful to the referees
a) As the lead educator in the game, players and their parents will respond to the way you deal with referees.
b) Take time to address the entire group on this subject and hold yourself to a high standard.
c) Many referees at the youth level are learning and need positive reinforcement to maintain their interest in the sport.
I pledge to teach and guide the players. I will always recognize my responsibility to, and influence on, both the players and the parents. I will be a positive force. I promise as coach to remember I am responsible for setting and maintaining the tempo and behavior patterns of my team. I will focus on development and let the results take care of themselves. I will be a factor on children continuing their soccer experience for many years instead of being a reason for them dropping out of the sport.
Players Guide, Parents Guide, Coaches Guide
Mass Youth Soccer