New Season, New Challenges

Recently,  I was involved in a group discussion with a fairly diverse group of coaches. Their experience ranged from Professional Sides down to local Club teams with the average length of service about 16 yrs. As usually happens, our discussion narrowed down to how do we guide, encourage and help foster new coaches to our sport. I found the discussion very timely and helpful to me as I have a new to coaching assistant that is joining me this season. The following is my attempt to distill into words what I would hope would be a beneficial to a new coach.

Coach- we need to wok beyond the X’s and O’s of the game. Keep in mind that the game is played by individuals working in a manner that will achieve a common goal. Build the individual and show them the way to work within the construct of the team.

As we define ourselves as coaches, we need to ask ourselves; what is one’s professional image on the pitch? Off the pitch? What 3 words would others use to describe you? What 3 words would you use to define your self?

5 traits of a coach:

  1. punctuality
  2. passionate
  3. integrity
  4. appearance
  5. self-discipline

Are you willing to effect personal change in order to reach your own goals? IF not, why should a player do so? Are you satisfied with where you are now or are you willing to push yourself, challenge yourself to grow beyond the constraints of your own creation?

We must constantly monitor our own behavior and learn from other people’s reactions to those behaviors. Actions still speak louder than words. Remember, you are always marketing yourself!

Types of leaders-

  • Transactional Leaders: these leaders reward behavior that obtains the desired results.
  • Transformational Leaders: these leaders obtain results through their investment and those they work with.

Most people work utilizing a little of both. The BEST leaders go about their business in a very transparent manner- the biggest impacts come quietly!

Preparing Players to Play at a Higher Level of Play

Areas that must be addressed before any assessment can take place:

  1. Physical Abilities
  2. Technical Abilities
  3. Mental Abilities

We must guide players to situations that will allow them to develop decision making techniques. We only guide the decision making process.

We must help players develop 5 corner stones essential to successful team cohesion:

  1. Communication
  2. Coping Skills
  3. Enjoyment from their chosen sport
  4. How to prioritize and modify when needed
  5. How to set benchmarks

We need to help players understand their role as a player and what these roles are. We need to make sure they understand that roles change and will shift constantly-

Workers                             Leaders                       Supporting Player

Players must also understand the concept of work to improvement ratio and their own accountability within that concept.

Soccer Culture

We have an obligation to help promote the culture of soccer and need to understand that players have unique and personal reasons for playing soccer. We need to strive to create environments that allow players to enjoy what the game means to them.

Our games and training must stimulate challenges and teach in all aspects of play. Every opportunity on the pitch needs to have take away moments and lessons that are definable, have relevance to the players/team and be unique in that moment.

Remember- teams nor players develop by playing down. While it may be tempting to schedule “sure thing” games, ultimately, your responsibility is to your players and your team- put them in situations where they will continue to grow.

Our time as coaches should have meaning and impact. If we do our job well, players will always leave from their time with us, wanting more. They will begin to seek out opportunites to play in any context available to them (SSG, indoor, pick up, etc) THIS is what our goals as coaches should be.

till I see you on the pitch


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