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Coaches Blog

Sam's Blog is a bi-weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Coaching Director for US Youth Soccer.

 

Qualities of a Good Coach

Sam Snow

Coaches often bounce ideas off one another to deepen their own understanding of various soccer topics. A topic that recently came up among a group of very good youth soccer coaches was, what are the top five qualities of a good coach?  Here are some of the responses:

Tom Statham, Academy Coach at Manchester United FC

A coach must:

  • Care about his players
  • Be able to connect and communicate
  • Treat people with respect
  • Have knowledge of the game
  • Create an environment of enjoyment and learning


Tom Goodman, Technical Director at NEFC

  • Sense of Humor
  • Knowledgeable (teacher)
  • Ethical/Moral/Honest
  • Encouraging
  • Respectful
     

Darren Bowles, a Regional Manager at the FA

Good coaches:

  • Create and maintain an environment which encourages the players to learn and love the game
  • Show that they care for their players
  • Have a sound knowledge of the game
  • Try to keep things clear & simple
  • Treat everyone with respect
     

Chris Panayiotou - Developmental Director of Coaching Virginia Rush Soccer Club
C - confident and confidence builder

O - observer, organizer 

A - approachable, always learning 

C - continually growing, competent 

H - hard working, humble and honest 


Vince Ganzberg, Grassroots Advisor for U. S. Soccer
Adding on to your COACH pneumonic: 

O - other-centered

C - care, checks for understanding

Then one quality is a coach who can transfer knowledge into understanding.
 

Paul Shaw, Coaching Education Director - Virginia Youth Soccer

  • Have character - without this, you are done.
  • Soccer acumen - current and is always seeking (coaching education-soccer and outside of soccer; seek different experiences etc...)
  • Teaching skills - always a work in progress as our culture changes, must adapt.
  • Sense of humor - LOL.
  • Imagination - the coach who can "paint/create/sculpt" in different environments has longevity and inspires.

 

Ruth Nicholson, Founding Partner and IAF Certified Professional Facilitator – Club Development Network
 

  • The ability to be a member of a team of adults supporting players (coaches, parents, administrators, etc.), as well as to lead, teach, and inspire a team of players


Dr. Roy Patton, Director of Soccer Genius USA

For the coach of young adult players:

  • Maturity and experience-business and media savvy
  • Ability to build consensus - internal / external
  • Ability to use jurisprudential argument and to be consistent
  • High level of coaching experience and coaching ability
  • Be an excellent and relentless recruiter.
     

US Youth Soccer

Good coaching and coaches at the u6 to u10 ages :

  • Open the door to a lifetime of soccer
  • Lay the foundation of:
    • Fair Play
    • Game sense
    • Healthy lifestyle
    • Skills
  • Create the environment for players to establish friendships through soccer
  • Guide players learning to interact with others:
    • Teammates
    • Coach
    • Team manager
    • Referees
    • Opponents
    • Spectators
  • Guide parents on their child’s soccer journey
  • How to be a guest at the kids’ game
    • Off-the-ball habits
    • Commitment
    • Punctuality
    • Responsibility
    • Nutrition/hydration
    • Proper sleep/recovery
  • Teach leadership, communication skills, how to cooperate, how to compete, how to share
  • Coach must lead by example:
    • Control emotions
    • Verbal & body language
    • Be a good sport

 

From the Oregon Youth Soccer Association
Judging a Good Coach

  • A good coach is someone who knows winning is wonderful, but is not the triumph of sports.
  • A kid’s coach is someone who goes to work early, misses meals, gives away weekends and plays havoc with family schedules so he or she can help out a group of youngsters.
  • A good coach is someone who stays half an hour or more after practice to make sure every one of the players has a safe ride home.
  • A good coach is someone who rarely hears a mom or dad say `Hey thanks’, but receives a lot of advice on game day.
  • A good coach is someone who makes sure that everyone gets to play.
  • A good coach is someone who teaches young people that winning is not everything, but still lies in bed at night staring at the ceiling wondering whether he or she might have done anything differently to have turned a loss into a win.
  • A good coach is someone who can help a child learn to take mistakes in stride.
  • A good coach is someone who sometimes helps a child to develop ability and confidence that sometimes did not exist before.
  • A good coach is someone a youngster will remember a long time after the last game has ended and the season is over.

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Just Kicking It Podcast

Sam Snow

I invite you to listen to a podcast I recently did with Brian Shrum and Joshua Foga on Just Kickin’ It (www.justkickinitpod.com) – Episode # 13.

Here are some of the topics discussed.

  1. Tell our audience a little bit about yourself, how you got to the position you on in, and your duties as the Technical Director for US Youth Soccer?
  2. Your thoughts are grassroots soccer in the U.S. - better or worse?
  3. Ways to improve grassroots soccer coaching?
  4. Good pathways for young soccer players and novice parents?
  5. Specialization versus Sampling?
  6. Pathway for coaches’ education for new grassroots coaches?
  7. Dropout rates in youth sports…i.e., soccer?
     

You can access it here and please pass along to anyone that you believe will benefit from the information.

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Testimony on the National Youth License Course

Sam Snow

Hi Sam,

I wanted to let you know I attribute my continued success and enjoyment in coaching, designing programs and training youth soccer players to the National Youth License course I took back in 2004 (if I remember correctly).

Right before I was invited to attend the course I was ready to quit coaching soccer all together.  All too often I faced a gap between my passion to coach and my effectiveness with youth.

I was considered a pretty good coach, but I came away from the field feeling like I was working much harder than the kids I was coaching.

The result of this gap was frustration for both me and eventually the kids.

After taking the course I readjusted my contextual format for each age group as I was taught and used the tools the course provided and my training sessions and enthusiasm began to flow once again.

I've redesigned my entire Youth Soccer SAQ Programs under the guidelines of the National Youth teachings and it's been great to see Fun and Effectiveness happening at the same time.

Thank you for all that you do for all of us as coaches.  The course truly equipped me with the tools to match my passion for making a difference with our kids.

Chochi Valenzuela - Youth Soccer Coach and Director of Speed Trainers USA

 

To learn more about the National Youth License visit: http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/coaches/NatYouthLicense/

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Continuing Education

Sam Snow

Soccer coaches in America have a multitude of both formal and informal coaching education available to them. The formal education is the courses such as the “E” or “Y” or “C” Licenses through the state and national associations. Formal education could also be the Master’s Degree in Coaching Soccer through Ohio University. http://www.ohio.edu/graduate/programinfo/CoachingOnlineSoccer-Info.cfm

Informal education may include mentoring within a club, clinics, webinars or conventions. In the last category I recently attended the 2015 US Youth Soccer Workshop / NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia. This was my 34th NSCAA Convention and my 20th US Youth Soccer Workshop http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/workshop/nscaa/. For the last three years the two events have taken place side-by-side. The contract has been renewed for another three years. I foresee the partnership continuing for many more years.

This gathering of coaches, vendors, referees and administrators is unsurpassed in the world. Where else could professional team coaches rub elbows with local youth coaches? Indeed with over 9000 people in attendance every level of soccer is represented. The convention is a fantastic education opportunity. Sessions are given for administrators, coaches and referees. There are demonstrations done with players of all ages and both genders. Classroom sessions take place from Wednesday through Sunday of the convention week. There are so many wonderful sessions going on that you couldn’t possibly attend them all. Truthfully you will need to attend two or three years in a row to take it all in.

As I write this blog post I’m flying from Denver back to Dallas. I, along with Mike Freitag, gave some sessions for a coach clinic hosted by the Broomfield S.C. http://www.broomfieldsoccerclub.org/Default.aspx?tabid=690416&mid=714779&newskeyid=HN1&newsid=47512&ctl=newsdetail Bill Stara organized the clinic for all coaches in the northern Denver area. Over the course of the day about 100 coaches, players, their parents and administrators attended.

All youth soccer clubs must budget and plan for continuing education of the coaches, administrators and parents in the club. The players deserve this effort by the adults. Investment in the growth of its personnel is a club’s highest priority.

So whether it’s a small clinic in a club or attendance at a national convention, coaches must be lifelong students of the game. Indeed refining one’s craft of coaching is an on-going process. If you are a soccer coach then you must be committed to your formal and informal education. A coach has every right to expect the club to host a clinic at least once a year. But the coach has an obligation to attend the clinic. On the club wide ‘clinic day’ all training sessions and matches should be postponed.

Youth soccer clubs should also budget to annually send some of the staff to a state symposium or a national convention.  The experience is eye opening!

Continuing education of coaches should be a cultural norm in all American soccer clubs. I look forward to seeing you at the 2016 US Youth Soccer Workshop in Baltimore next January.

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