Keeping your Cool as a Youth Soccer Coach

Avram Grant rarely looses his cool - (Photo: Archive.wn.com)

Have you ever noticed how the best coaches are usually the most calm?  Perhaps this is simply a reflection of their happiness with the victory occurring on the pitch, but you’ll often notice that these coaches have a similar demeanor during losses and matches where things aren’t going their team’s way.  Likewise, the coaches who often lose and are constantly angry are the ones you see berating the officials during games and screaming at everyone in their path.  Often their team’s results are a reflection of that desperate anger.

As a coach, your attitude filters down to the players.  So when a coach is yelling and in a panic, that feeling trickles down to the team, and their play reflects that.  They play rushed, desperate, and often make costly mistakes while feeling the pressure.  When a coach is calm and reserved, their team plays like that as well.  Playing relaxed and without panicked urgency helps your team control games and dictate the play.  This is how soccer teams win games.

Another benefit to playing calmly is that you take your emotions out of the game.  Of course you want your players to show fight and grit, but the coach needs to think with a clear head.  Making changes and plays with your feelings and not your head can often lead to costly errors.  Therefore, try to distance yourself from the actual game.  Don’t get too excited when your team scores to take the lead, and don’t freak out when an opponent scores a goal on you.

When assessing how to change tactics in a game, really consider what aspects of the team are suffering and how they could be improved.  Is your team maintaining good possession but not able to find that last breakthrough towards the goal?  Maybe your fullbacks should push up a bit, maybe a striker should be brought on?  Maybe you simply need to be patient and wait for the defence to grow tired.  Making panicked decisions like bringing on two more strikers and pulling defenders may leave your team weak at the back and result in conceding a goal.  An overly emotional coach panics and makes swift changes.  Don’t be silly, and use your head, not your mouth!

A wonderful saying in the coaching world preaches, “You’re never as good as anyone says when you are winning, and you are never as bad as everyone says when you are losing.”  The idea behind this is to not lose focus of the qualities of your team.  Yes, when you win a big game everyone thinks the team is unstoppable, but a wise coach understands that there are still areas to improve.  Likewise, after suffering a 5-0 thrashing from an opponent, you may want to drown in your sorrows and berate your team, but should also realize that there may have been some positives in the game as well.

When you get too excited as a coach, so does your team, and you jeopardize your rationality.  This can lead to countless headaches for a young soccer team.  Therefore, try to keep calm and collected from the sideline, and keep your team focused on their goals, not a desperation to keep you from getting mad.

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Nicholas Spiller

Nicholas Spiller resides in LA where he dreams of musical super-stardom on his bass guitar. He also writes for Sportspiller.com and is an avid Arsenal fan!

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