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Getting Along With Your Coach

A coach can be described as an expert who has spent a lifetime acquiring and perfecting knowledge in a particular area. He is a friend who sometimes reminds you of what you already know and just fine-tunes it. He also teaches you new things to expand your horizons. As he can have a tremendous impact on your athletic career, it’s important the two of you get along. Here are a few hints to help you gain his respect and make him work for you.

Above all, remember that you are the student. Seek to gain as much knowledge from the coach as he can give you.
Listen carefully. Hear in depth what the coach is actually saying. Don’t assume things. A successful person is usually a good listener.

Visually and verbally demonstrate to the coach that you are interested in learning and improving. Don’t be a know-it-all.

Follow the coach’s dress code on and off the field. It’s OK to assert your individuality, but don’t show a lack of respect for the coach’s authority. Learn not to “take things personal “. Good coaches separate your performance on the field from you as the worthwhile individual. When they criticize your play, remember they are talking about you as the player not you as the human being.

Practice self-discipline. This allows the coach to become a better teacher for you.   And that is what he wants to be.

Come to training early and be prepared. If you really want to be the best, stay late.
Hear the coach’s instructions during games. He is the one who spent practice time with you formulating the game plan. Learn to tune out the outside influences, i.e., fans, friends and parents. They all love you, but tend to deal strictly on emotion.

Coaches usually ask you to do things that are best for your development. If you don’t agree, show them common courtesy by speaking to them directly. They will respond positively and have a higher regard for your position. Don’t ever challenge their authority in front of the group. Team matters also stay within the team.
Learning to calmly and naturally handle a dispute is one mark of a good leader. This is a part of growing up.

Coaches are just like you. They want to be liked. They generally don’t do things to hurt people. Remember they must decide: a) what is best for the team, b) what is best for the individual.

Your coach has a lot to do with your success, in the present and the future. Treat him exactly the way you would like to be treated. He does have the ability and the contacts to “make or break you”. Provide your coach with lots of positive reasons to help you. Above all, remember the golden rule – the man with the gold makes the rules!

Roby Stahl

Roby Stahl is the Emeritus State Director of Coaching for the Ohio South Youth Soccer Association. He attained the following prestigious coaching credentials: United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “A” License; National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Advanced National Diploma; Swedish Elite License; Brazilian Elite License; and Canadian “B” License. He has played and coached professionally overseas and in the United States. He has been involved at the National Level within the U, S. at numerous levels. Some of Roby’s former players include Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy, Kristin Lilly of the US Women’s National Team, and many other players now playing overseas or within the MLS. Roby is one of the most experienced coaches in the United States, bringing an Elite approach to coaching our youth & A kontributor to FUNdamental SOCCER for decades!