7 Traits of a Great Youth Soccer Coach

Coaching involves more than designing plays for free kicks or creating team formations. Coaching, especially at the youth level, involves accepting a huge responsibility as you are basically in a position of trust as parents put their kids in your care. The youth soccer coach wears many hats.

Here are some of the requirements of the job:

Communicate Positively

Being able to communicate with players, parents, coaching staff, officials, and administrators is a critical part of the job. Communicate in a positive way that shows you have the best interest in the players' welfare.

Teach Soccer Fundamentals

When teaching a sport such as soccer, you must remember it's just a game and you want to be sure your players have fun. Therefore, help all players be the best they can be by creating a fun and productive practice environment. Use a "games approach" to teaching and practicing the skills and tactics young players will need to learn. Also, educate yourself so that you have a working understanding of offensive and defensive skills.

Teach Soccer Rules

Introduce soccer rules and incorporate them into your instruction. Many rules can be taught in the first practice, during the course of game like activities and small-sided games. Review the rules any time an opportunity arises in practice.

Direct Players in Games

Game day direction includes figuring out a starting lineup and a substitute plan, relating to officials, opposing coaches and players in an appropriate manner, and making good tactical decisions during games. The focus is not winning at all costs but rather on teaching kids to compete well and do their best while winning within the rules.

Help Players Become Fit

Young players need to have an understanding of fitness so that they can play soccer successfully and safely. Children don't think much about fitness, but they should be introduced to its value and the need to become and stay fit on their own. Don't make them do push-ups or run laps for punishment. Getting fit for soccer should be fun. By making it fun to play the game they'll develop good fitness habits for their lifetime.

Provide a Safe Environment

Soccer is a risky game to some extent, but as a person coaching youth soccer you're responsible for regularly inspecting the practice, game fields, and equipment to ensure they're in working order. Let players and parents know that they'll learn the safest techniques and that you'll have an emergency action plan to follow should an injury occur.

Help Kids Develop Character

Character development includes learning, caring, being honest and respectful, and taking responsibility. Teach these values to players by demonstrating good behaviors yourself. Help them understand that they should try to win the battle on every play even though they might not be recognized for their efforts.

Every player is an individual. Provide a wholesome environment so that each one has the chance to learn how to play the game without fear and while having fun.


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