I may interrupt my soccer coaching career with the Pipeline Soccer Club after the spring EDP season and May’s club tryouts.
August 2016, I joined my son-in-law coaching the Pipeline 2008 Boys Gold team. Since I have assisted him with the Pipeline 2008 Boys Red, 2007 Girls Red, and the 2007 Girls Black. But, my mentor is taking a hiatus, and I will take one also.
I agreed to assist Coach Brad because I was looking for an activity to fill my retirement years. I haven’t regretted accepting his offer.
Mentoring a novice coach
A novice coach should have a knowledgeable mentor to guide him/her. I feel I had one of the best. I have learned about developing young players, ages 8-12, and building a team.
The Pipeline Soccer Club conducts tryouts in May. The coaches test players and make offers. Players end up on teams reflective of their skills shown. Then, the club places the teams into leagues and tournaments based on their tier within the club.
Regardless of the tier, players have similar training requirements. They need to increase their technical skills and to understand positional and game play. Players need fitness. They need the confidence to compete at a high level. The coach should address these needs through training and game management.
I feel my mentor works to meet these needs for every team he coached. Some coaches develop fitness by having the players run laps or sprints. His philosophy is fitness will improve as the player works with the ball. Using precious training time to run players is unnecessary with designed drills. Dribbling, 1v1, 1v2, 2v2, 3v3 drills, and scrimmages build technical skills while contributing to fitness.
Training game play
Positional play is key to game play. Teaching positional play requires more than technical drills. The coach must place players in game-like situations. Scrimmages are a great skill builder as players can exercise skills in a competitive environment. Divide the players into groups, give them a ball, give them a goal (score, consecutive number of passes, etc.), and let them play. Address skill, positional, and team play during the scrimmage. I understand the value of ending training sessions with a scrimmage.
Confidence is something that a coach can assist with but not instill. A good coach will be quick to compliment good technical play in training and games. He/she will be as quick to point out how a player could do it better.
Playing in quality tournaments can affect confidence. Success is good for confidence while losing can be bad. Bad if the coach allows it to get hold of the players and team. The Pipeline 2008 Boys Gold team’s Labor Day tournament saw them on the wrong side of a 10-43 goal differential. However, the coach kept the things they did well at the tournament before them as they trained twice a week. The team competed hard and was a finalist at the Columbus Day tournament. Boys lacking confidence would never have seen such growth.
A coach must be a communicator. Good communications with players and parents are as important as good training. The coach should preface the drills with explanations of what the player must do and its value. Then he reinforces with timely corrections.
Aside from the coach, the people who most affect a player’s confidence are their parents and grandparents. They can remind the player of things they are doing well or they can keep the player’s shortcomings foremost in the child’s mind. The coach should keep parents aware of their child’s progress. Winning games is the goal, but the emphasis should be on player development.
Tell me what you think makes a good coach. I look forward to learning your thoughts.