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Bits of Wisdom for Youth Coaches (Continued)

I have a lot of years behind me in coaching and the experience that comes with that. Wisdom?? That I will leave to others.

As someone once said, things seldom stay neutral; generally, they are either negative or positive. It is often a case of “idle hands and the devils’ workshop” for some parents and coaches.

In my thinking, there are two areas that I feel need to be addressed by the coach. The first is behavior, at and away from the field. The second is their relationship with their children regarding sports in general and their expectations towards each other.

  1. The game is for the child, not the parent. (self-explanatory)
  2. Support for their child and all of the children from both teams is mandatory.
  3. Voicing support is tremendous and is the only voicing required.

Parents can do a lot to support their children away from the field. There is never enough practice time to improve skills dramatically. To build strong skills, free play time is vital. This is where the child gets to experiment, learn by failing, which does not happen in competition.

Parents should support and encourage children to go out and play (anywhere safe) with their friends. This is truly “their” time, and it is more fun than the actual league games they play. There is no pressure, and they can make as many mistakes as they want to aid in the process of learning.

Parents, buy your child a soccer ball! They will not play without one.

We need to get back to the “free playtime” that existed a long time ago. This is where the children organize themselves, pick sides democratically, and keeping score is not important.

I hope this helps. There is much more to discuss on this topic, but this is at the top of my list.

Bill Howe

Teaching Experience / Qualifications Teaching Diploma OISE – University of Toronto 18 years – Secondary – Communication Technology Honors Technology Specialist Senior Boys Soccer Coach Coaching Experience Soccer coach – 40 years. Coaching instructor – Ontario Soccer Association (20 years). Regional coach – Northeastern Ontario (7 years). Rep level coach – 30 years High school soccer coach (4 years) College Varsity Athlete (Soccer – hockey – boxing)