Coaches come in all shapes and sizes, but there are certain coaching attributes that will assist you in creating a positive, learning environment where your players can thrive and develop as people. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all had our fair share of bad coaches, but its important to consider what – and why – a coach is a good one…and one that is memorable.
Here is our short list of critical coaching traits:
- Patience – this is probably the most important aspect of coaching. Working with young players with different abilities, attention spans and interest in soccer is difficult. This is why you need Assistant Coaches and a Team Manager. Indeed, it takes a village.
- Enthusiasm – enthusiasm is contagious! If you get excited about practices and games, your kids will also! This energy will spill into the quality of the sessions and games! Get those kids fired up and having FUN! (See all those exclamation points!? LOL!)
- Positive – Kids are going to make mistakes. So are the referees. And, by gosh, you are going to make a ton yourself. Stay positive. Take a deep breath. So many players are turned off to the game because coaches have crushed their self worth and experimental nature. From the sidelines of most fields, parents and coaches berate players because of mistakes. Stop it- this isn’t the World Cup! Allow children to experiment and discover and cheer them on. In short, be the biggest fan on the sidelines!
- Willingness to Learn – Coaches with no background in soccer can be successful in coaching up to age U11 with very little investment in coaching information. The first three attributes: patience, enthusiasm and a positive attitude can carry the day of providing a forum for fun learning and cultivating creative, thinking soccer players. Of course, those coaches that spend just a little time investing in these areas will be well-equipped to maximize their players and grow with them as they head into the “Golden Years of Learning.”
- Teacher – a great coach is a great teacher. He explains things positively, simply and creates age appropriate sessions to develop skills that are fun and fun and interesting (see positive and enthusiasm). Education is central to being a good teacher. After all, you have to know what it is you’re teaching. It’s probably why you’re here!
- Sportsmanship – as a role model, we must always act in ways that we are proud of since we are on display to the teams, players and families. Before you act, ask yourself, “If this shows up on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper, will I be proud?” Find and create a positive energy on – and off the field.
Think about your memorable coaches in any sport for one second. What attributes made them memorable?