I want to address some issues that I witnessed before the pandemic hit, and I hope will stop once these trying times end and the new-normal season begins:
To make it a “successful year,” regardless of the playing ability or experience, and before your season begins, make sure that you get together with all your players’ parents so they will meet you and learn your goals and objectives for the season. Before your first meeting, you must be clear about those goals and objectives.
You have a big responsibility. The training field is your classroom. It would help if you created an environment conducive to allowing your players to be themselves in the process of learning, being creative, and interpreting the game in their way.
But your players are also responsible for behaving in your classroom like they are expected to in school. If they don’t, contact their parents as soon as possible and do not put up with nonsense from anyone that disrupts the development of “your team and its players.” The ultimate responsibility for a player’s behavior lies with no one but the players themselves.
Winning and losing are irrelevant. Preparing your players for the next higher level of soccer is what counts. You do not tell “your players” that winning is unimportant; practicing to win is what matters.
Protect your players. Ensure the “facilities” where your team practices and plays are safe. Check them out before your players are allowed to step on them. Nowadays, “people” are taking this issue for granted, DON’T YOU?
Take a First Aid and CPR course, and always have a phone ready in case of an emergency.
Let your players play. Your job coaching is done during the week, not during “their” game. You teach in practice, and they put it together on the weekend in the game. You may support, reassure, praise, encourage, jump up and down but DO NOT TELL THEM WHAT TO DO.
You may remind them or point out certain things during the game or half-time lulls, but that is it. Concentrate on what you feel they need to learn, from you, to become even better next time.
No sermons before, during half-time, or after the game. Some coaches overwhelm their players with too much talking. If you have something to say, be specific and to the point, and let them be. When you go on and on, the players do not hear you even though they may look right at you.
If you ever referee a game, DO NOT GIVE THEM A LECTURE while checking their equipment. The players are there to enjoy and play soccer. They need all the time to prepare themselves mentally and physically for the game at hand. They do not want to hear what you may do to them if they happen to do whatever.
Know and follow the Laws of the Game and LEAVE THEM ALONE.
NEVER tell a player: “This game is very important, and you will not get to play that much today. Make your words as sweet as honey, for tomorrow; you may have to eat them.
Praise until you are blue in the face but never dehumanize a player. If you have something to say, wait until you cool off and talk to them lovingly and constructively in private before the next practice.
Play the game yourself, and do not worry about your ability. The game is the best teacher, and the first thing you will learn is to respect and appreciate what your players do at practices and games.