The Blog 2018-06-06T11:49:18-08:00

Calls for Coaches for remote engagement to continue to providing social and emotional support for your players during a time when they need it most.

I. Know Every Athlete’s Story:

  • Make a plan for virtual meetings just like you would for in-person practice.  Plan the meeting to include guided open-ended questions in order to learn more about your players.  i.e.  If you could hang out with your friends today, what would you do?  What do you miss most about school?
  • When the players log on to join the meeting, acknowledge each of them by name and tell them you are glad they made it
  • Ask questions that acknowledge the situation while also providing hope and something to look forward to.  Convey a light at the end of the tunnel message. i.e. What is helpful when you are feeling isolated?  Does this pandemic worry you?    The answers will help you determine whether the player needs extra attention.
  • II. Establish a Supportive Team Culture:
  • Establish norms for remote interaction such as no cell phones or other distractions so when a player is responding others are active listening.  Create a hand signal that conveys a positive response after a player speaks i.e. snaps, sign language etc.
  • When a player says something encouraging or positive to the group or another player pause to highlight that behavior.
  • III. Celebrate Effort
  • Same as any team, you want teammates to cheer each other on
  • When meeting remotely try to find an activity and lead the players through it.  i.e.  wastebasket HORSE, dribbling challenge, pushup challenge etc.
  • Ask the players how things are going in school.  Regardless of the answers, tell them you are proud of them for trying to figure it out and working through it.
  • IV. Focus on the Skills that Matter
  • Sport specific skills will take some creativity using what is available at home. When the meetings are virtual, players can adjust their cameras to see each other.  Model a skill you would like them to work on. Have players take turns leading an activity during each meeting.
  • Fitness is important in any sport.  Tale time to lead your players through some exercises the players can do at home. This will help promote fitness and prevent injuries when we get outside. This will be a great opportunity for team building.
  • Set goals for some exercises so the players have something to work toward.  i.e.
  • 30 pushups, jumping jacks for one minute etc.
  • Include mindfulness activities to promote social and emotional skills and self -care.  Work on breathing exercises and encourage players to do them each day. i.e. Harvard’s EASEL Lab’s Belly Breathing.  Coaches ask players to inhale deeply and notice their belly’s expand and then exhale through their mouths and feel the belly collapse.  Ask the players if they could feel the difference.
  • V. Be a Role Model
  • Set an example on how you want kids to react.  Remember that social cues can be interpreted differently virtually.  Avoid sarcasm and playful needling.  Staying at home can cause a lot of anxiety.  You may be the only source of encouraging words.
  • Do the activities with themDon’t be afraid to screw up in front of your players.  Intentionally choose skills you struggle with, so the players know it is okay to struggle as long as they keep working to get better.
  • Talk to players about how they manage their time.  Whether work or sport be a role model on how you can be productive during this time.  Be honest on how challenging this can be for you as well.  Sometimes we just feel flat, lethargic and unmotivated.  There are reasons for that.  Take some time to talk through it.  What are specific things you can do to work through it.
  • VII. Be Coachable
  • Talk to other coaches and sport leaders about things they are doing to engage their teams.
  • Utilize resources made available to learn more about coaching your sport so that you can use this time to get better at the Xs and Os.
  • Don’t be afraid to explore and experiment with other platforms besides Zoom or Google Hangouts.  Changing up what the players are using is a good way to give some variety and help them stay engaged.
  • Always be careful when working with minors.  Be mindful of privacy.  Whatever platform you use we recommend the guidelines from US Center for SafeSport to keep you, your players and families safe.

Be Safe.  Stay Healthy.



Player Technical 2016/2020 Summary – Youth Development

In this report I have listed some observations from watching English Premier League youth teams for the last three years. During this time period I have watched a number of games played by English Premier developmental teams and lower league senior teams. The quality of play is quite impressive. The following report contains recommendations and discussion points which may help coaches of American players in their teaching priorities.

The Industry of Player Acquisition and Selling.

The development of players, culturally, is an industry. The scouting, development and selling of young players in most European and South American countries is, significantly, financial. The buying and selling of players can be a very lucrative business and players are represented by agents at a very young age. It is a very different paradigm to the high school and collegiate route which is the path most American players take to become professional soccer players.

I spent a significant amount of time in the UK in 2016 and 2017 with John Doolan, one of Everton’s top scouts (Recruiters) One of the main jobs of a scout is to identify players who might be capable of playing in the Everton squad. The role of the scout is critical at top clubs and John, along with a number of other colleagues who work for Everton, search the UK, and indeed, the globe, looking for players who might improve their first team squad.  Along with the acquisitions of older players, professional clubs have youth programs for players as young as 10 years of age and going all the way to 23 years of age. Everton’s youth programs have been very successful in developing professional players but much time is spent watching players from other clubs who might be traded to enhance and strengthen Everton’s first team squad.

Everton Football Club is a football club in Liverpool, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club have competed in the top division for a record 114 seasons, missing the top division only four times since The Football League was created in 1888. Everton have won 15 major trophies: the League Championship nine times, the FA Cup five times and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup once.

All the top clubs have full time staff members watching and evaluating potential signings from other clubs, especially, in their late teens and early 20’s. John is perfect for this position having gone through the youth development system with Everton and then playing for a variety of English professional teams. Everton invited him back to become a youth development coach, where he became a valued and respected staff member, developing the likes of international players, Ross Barclay, Tom Davies and John Joe Kenny. Thoroughly cognizant of the demands of both Premier League and youth developmental levels, John accepted the position of Scout in 2016/2017 season and has become noted for his work ethic and player evaluation capabilities. He is the, quintessential, talent spotter and takes his role extremely seriously.

Watching Premier League Youth Development.

Although the players in these games are the same age as our American high school and college players the quality of these games are of a very different character. These games feature players who have acquired advanced technical skills which include the importance of taking care of yourself on the field including some of the “Dark Arts” of the game. Watching Liverpool U18’s versus Paris St. Germain U/18s, Everton U21’s versus Man Utd U21’s etc. is just different!

My experience in Brazil, as an observer, twenty years ago, was the same. The youth players are fighting for their professional lives and everything from what they eat, to their professional progress as players is carefully monitored. Whether they sign a professional contract or not has a massive impact on their family, especially as many come from quite poor backgrounds.

In the UK the players are, similarly, playing for their careers and are observed and analyzed in every game they play from a very young age. Even practices are videotaped. Lower league teams recognize that if they can develop a player and sell to a higher level club, they can make a whirlwind of money.

Most of the players are, obviously, committed to becoming a pro. However clubs are directed to offer sophisticated education programs and many players have attended American universities – often turning pro after graduation from university, either back in the UK or in the USA. They have the enviable position of having a University degree in their back pocket producing a very different motivational paradigm from UK and Brazilian players who have modest educational qualifications.

First You Make Your Habits and Then Your Habits Make You

Obviously the identification of talented players is of significant interest to all of us..….but my interest, for this report, is in identifying the technical habits which make these players so good. In watching so many games I noticed that similar skill patterns kept occurring game after game. After 43 years of playing and coaching in the USA I had rarely seen this level of soccer night after night, right in front of my eyes. The HABITS displayed by these young English professionals are, well worth noting for the future development of American players. In addition some observations of game management from the Premier Youth League coaches (use of substitutions, holding a lead, changing systems of play etc.) are also noteworthy.

As the Premier season draws to a close these are my reflections from some of the games I have seen. Some may appear to be repetitive…but repetition itself is a critical part of the players development journey.  

The following observations stand out –

  1. Shielding.

Use of the upper body to retain possession of the ball. Moving into opponents prior to receiving the ball……or…as Anson Dorrance (UNC Chapel Hill Head Women’s Coach – 1991 USA Women’s World Cup winning coach) would say, “Controlling the opponent before controlling the ball.” When two players are going for the ball the player who cuts off the other player “first” will win the ball. This will require players to step across and “into” the immediate opponent and blocking out the opponent…dare I say, something I have seen basketball players do on free throws. Blocking out players can only be done within a couple of paces of the ball, otherwise it would be obstruction. This important technique is called “shielding”. One of Anson’s legacies as the USA Women’s national team coach is that the best American women have mastered this skill….and the USA are number 1 in the world’s women’s game.

  • Receiving.

Ability to secure the ball with every part of the body, even under heavy pressure.

  1. Pre – receiving move. Player receives ball under pressure and buys time by “gesture” movement towards ball……player initiates a long step towards the ball which freezes opponent and then, let’s ball run across himself and takes ball in a different direction.
  2. “Flipping”. Receiving under pressure but “Lifting” ball over opponent’s foot.
  3. “Sitting” Cushioning a physical challenge by lowering center of gravity and initiating the first physical contact by stepping into opponent.
  4. “Gesturing / Indicating”. Attacker is marked tightly by opponent but indicates, with an open palm, to team mate to pass ball to foot which is furthest away from marking defender. A technique used successfully, as a player, by Paul Lambert when playing central MF in Scottish national team.
  • Scanning. Playing “Sideways On” (Frank Lampard – Master Scanner.)
  •  Head on a swivel all the time.
  •  Constantly looking over shoulder;

             i. When moving into support position.

             ii. Just before ball is passed.

             iii. Moment ball is passed.

             iv. When ball is on it’s way.

(See chapter on “Sideways On Soccer” in my booklet – “Developing The Elite American Soccer Player.”)

  • Driving the ball “dead straight” with power and “shaping” passes.

a. Ability to drive the ball, over long distances;

             i. “On a rope.” Dead straight, no spin. Arrives at targets chest. (Again, Frank Lampard driving ball – below.)

             ii. Also with fade. This pass slows down as it approaches the target and is easier to control.

             iii. Also with slight hook. This pass has spin and target can receive ball on the run.

             iv. With backspin. Shorter pass played between defenders with backspin. Checks up for attacker, behind backs.

                   Too many of our players cannot drive the ball dead straight. They continually hook the ball…why?           

  1. Ball not out of feet enough. The ball must be out and away from the players body and feet so the player can take a long “hop” in this case from right foot to left foot which is the plant foot. As left plant foot lands the left hand is pointing at target – arms are important part of technique.
  2. Plant foot (in this case the left foot) lands too close to ball. The ball needs to be struck with the knuckle of right big toe and, to make ball go straight, must strike ball slightly left of center. If the plant foot lands too close to ball there is not enough space for knuckle of right foot to contact ball left of center and make it go straight..
  3. Striking toe comes up too quickly. If the striking toe comes up too quickly it will put spin on the ball and ball shall hook. Right toe should be pointed downward all the way through the strike.

I have watched several practices of professional youth development teams where the players simply drive the ball at each other putting hook, slice and straight driven balls.  I remember watching some Liverpool players staying behind after formal practice to work on hitting the cross bar of a goal with no net from the top of the penalty box. One player stood on one side of the goal and his partner on the other – a competition to see who could get to 10. This is a technique which is well worth staying behind to work on after practice. 

  • Development by Osmosis – Learning from older players.

Playing with and against older professionals is one of the most effective ways for young players to learn and develop. It is very fashionable to play a couple of older professional players (30/32 years of age) in games alongside the young professionals (u18s, u20’s etc.) In addition, clubs will, often, use older players coming back from injury to play in junior games.There is a sprinkling of older players in many of the youth games specifically to enhance the learning experience of the younger players.

Sadly many American clubs cannot do this simply because all the older players have gone to University at the age of 18 and many have not come back after graduation….so there are few people for the 14/15 years old left to learn from. However, I have worked at clubs were the coaching staff is young enough (30+) to play with and against the older age groups within the club (say the 16 year olds) who mix in with and against the older players. Other procedures could be developed to enhance the younger players learning from playing with and against older players – having local college players to come and help with practice is one way of improving young players by osmosis.

  • Using substitution as a motivational tool.

There is enormous competition for playing time within youth and professional squads and the coaches will, often, use the substitutes as a “Threat” to players on the field who are playing poorly. The coach gets the subs off the bench so the players playing in the game see the subs warming up alongside the field a couple of feet from the game. In a system when subbed players cannot go back in again this move by the coach can be a notification to specific players on the field that you are going to have to do better or you shall be subbed! The American system allows free substitution so the threat is not quite as sinister but modifications can always be improvised by a united coaching staff who are in agreement about player performance.

  • Early Movement – Early Support..

             Players moved to support a team mate “Before” the ball reached that team mate.  

             So…player A passes the ball to player B and, as the ball is rolling from A to B, player C is already moving into position so that player B can pass the ball to him first time or, at least, early. Combined with early verbal communication this enabled players to play one touch. A certain portion of each practice playing 1 touch soccer can enhance this habit. Verbal communication is, also, to be encouraged.

  • Early Decision Making and the importance of Small Sided Games.

Due to the positions they occupy there are certain patterns of play which occur in every game to players. Players must be exposed to those patterns of play in practice and master those patterns. Consequently, in a 6 v 6 practice game a right back should be positioned on the right side of the field which corresponds to the position he plays in the 11 v 11 game. Right backs receive the ball sideways on in a game as they are in a flank position. Central midfielders receive the ball facing their own goal…which is a completely different receiving skill. The positioning of central midfielders in small sided games should reflect this. Players are aware of their options with the ball before receiving it. Frank Lampard’s body positioning (sideways on) and constant scanning made him one of the finest midfielders to ever play the game.

  • Ability to receive a hard pass.

Players rarely bobbled a ball even when passed with lightning speed. Although our US players have improved in this area they still make too many first touch mistakes. A common mistake novice player’s make is to receive the ball with a loose ankle i.e. with the big toe pointing down. To make the foot rigid the big toe should be pointing up which will lock the ankle and give the player a better receiving surface and more control over the ball – also  important for passing with the inside of the foot. This is one of the most common mistakes I see when watching our young players and must be addressed early in a player’s technical development…the consequences from not correcting this malady are dire. Players who have receiving flaws shall have a very difficult time playing at a significantly sophisticated level.

  1. Repetition.

Two walls featured here – one in Brazil and one at an English Premier League club. Players are expected to spend an enormous amount of time doing very basic routines kicking the ball against a wall. We were astonished to see the willingness of Brazilian players to perform, what appears to be, extremely basic skill repetition day in and day out. The Brazilians used their wall every day, sometimes for 30 minutes. The big question is, “Are our players willing to do basic repetition?”

  1. The Coaching Team.

It would not be unusual to see 5/6 staff coaches at an Everton U18 game…plus more in the bleachers watching the game. This is not always possible in American clubs but the understanding that the coaching staff are a team which work together must be emphasized.

Moreover, it is, absolutely, essential that the coaching staff must have an understanding of “correct” technique.

e.g. Heading – Pictured below – Poor on top. Good on bottom. Why? How is it done correctly? Ball mastery by basic repetition must be embraced by the players.

Coaches MUST be interested in their own continuing education (bottom photograph) and be willing to adhere to the Club’s Technical ID as developed by the club’s Technical Committee.

For more information on developing future players and coaches please access Please note our new coaches “pocket book” which can fit in the coach’s pocket so you can refer to the exercises right there on the practice field. Contains many exercises to help the new and developing coach with quality practice sessions. Also if you are interested in taking your team to the UK and/or joining us on a Coach/Study tour of the UK please contact us at our email address.    
Jeff    jeffrtipping@gmailcom 0(11 44) 1 695 421 701 – UK (001) 816 213 6755  – USA    

It’s not just how well your team plays that is a judge of your success. It is far more complicated than that.

If you happen to coach a winning team this does not automatically make you a good coach. Just as if you coach a team with a losing record doesn’t automatically make you a less effective coach.

Good coaches build significant relationships with their athletes. They treat them with respect. They build, rather than tear down self-esteem…(make a player feel crummy about him/herself and that player will consistently under-perform for you.)

Good coaches have winning and losing in perspective. (It’s a known fact that the more emphasis you place on the outcome of the game or match, the less chance your athletes have of reaching that outcome.)

Good coaches understand that their primary job is to teach athletes how to be good people as well as skilled performers. If you build a trusting, caring relationship with your players they’ll go to the “max” for you. You’ll get to winning far faster by teaching your players “silly” concepts like commitment, honesty, caring, mutual respect, teamwork, sportsmanship, etc.

And the primary way you teach these things? By who you are and the relationship that you build with each and every one of your athletes.

Do you want to be an incredible motivator? Then build solid relationships with your athletes.

Ponder this one question. How many “coach-of-the-year” awards are given to the coach with a mediocre record who is adored by his athletes because he is honest, respectful and teaches his players how to feel good about themselves, how to be better people, how to play well together as a team, how to effectively handle success and failure, the importance of having character, a positive attitude and good sportsmanship? I know, these seem like such “minor” lessons when compared to winning and losing…

Your challenge as a coach is to not get yourself so caught up in this “winning is everything” mentality that you lose sight of what’s really important and what a truly successful coach is. And the funny thing about this is that the less your ego is caught up with winning, the more you’ll end up winning!

Dr. Alan Goldberg, is a nationally recognized expert, author and clinician in the field of sport psychology and performance psychology with years of experience working across all sports with athletes at every level.


Hall of Famer, Keith Tabatznik, in his articles for FUNdamental SOCCER, “Coach: Improve In Isolation” wrote, “During the virus-shutdown might be the perfect time for coaches to improve their own ‘game.’  I asked others for input on the subject and Coach Tigran, Youth Development Phase Lead Coach, Barnet FC, UEFA PRO Licensed Coach, was kind enough to respond with the following…  

“Coaching is one of the most responsible tasks that people can have. It is fascinating area but is not an easy area. You have to remind yourself why players are in the training sessions; what they want; what they need and why you are there. Here are some of my thoughts and ideas to consider when coaching:”  

Get to know the person and then the player. Connect before you correct. Show them that you care not only with your words but also with your actions. Actions speak louder than your words; so speak less but when you speak be careful the words you use. Be aware what your body language communicates as well. Focus on the individual, what they want and what they need. Praising is important where there is a need for that; but praise the effort and not the outcome.  

Environment is everything. First of all, create an environment that ensures the players safety and well-being. That environment should be engaging, boosting confidence, promoting creativity and letting players express themselves without the fear of failure.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Be ready to change, tweak or adapt your sessions within seconds. It is ok if your session looks messy, don’t feel uncomfortable, learning is messy. You don’t need to have everything too organized, there is no need for everything to be so structured. There is no perfect session, but you have to plan it as a masterclass.

Manipulate the task. What you train is what you get. As coaches we are learning designers, so design realistic scenarios and situations that allow players certain opportunities for actions and consequences for their actions. Be ready to be surprised from the outcome of what you were expecting to see from the game. Remember that players need to have interactions with teammates and opponents in order to be able to solve problems consistently. Tasks should be challenging but always as a reference to the real game.

Increase or decrease the complexity in your practice games. Adding more numbers, adding more rules have to be in line with the capabilities of the players.

Make sure the players have as much ball contact time as possible. Let them master the ball, create a relationship with the ball, players should fall in love with the ball. Focus more on dribbling and protecting the ball; rather than the solution of a pass, which is trying to get rid of it and not protect it individually. Know the details of a technique but don’t be obsessed to correct the technique to perfection; there is no such thing as perfect technique!  There is however a functional and successful technique which suits each individual.

Mix the age groups and the players with different abilities, the psycho -social interaction is very beneficial. There is no need to stick the players into certain positions including GK’s.  Let them experience all areas of the game, so that they will develop different technicotactical and psychosociological aspect of the game.

Involve the players in the feedback, let them take responsibility of their actions. Use the ‘Socratic method.’ Asking good questions is an art. However, keep in mind that understanding of the game is not the same as understanding in the game. So, go back to your session design and see if that speaks to the players.  Give value to your questions.

Observe, Reflect, Review, Feel the Sessions. Coaches have to think why they do what they do. It is necessary for the learning process.

As coaches we have to consistently educate ourselves. Don’t educate yourself only around football [soccer], football is more than technique and tactics. Stay humble because knowledge is never enough.

The above is not in any particular order.  It depends on your external factors and the culture you are in. Adapt, but keep in mind that if we don’t preach what we teach as role models; then we are coaches with a double standard.

Coach Tigran Tadevosyan

Youth Development Phase Lead Coach, Barnet FC

UEFA PRO Licensed Coach

Can be followed at: twitter @coach_tigran


Coaches all over are doing a superb job of providing players with ways to improve during the “Coronavirus shutdown”.  While that should be their first priority it is also a perfect time for a coach to improve their own ‘game’. Following are some ideas to help improve your coaching.

  1. Do you have a coaching philosophy?  

This is the statement you make (be it private or public) that you live by as a coach. Think of it as your mission statement. Here is an example of one that a young coach sent me:

My coaching philosophy is inspired by my passion for the game. I believe that my main goal should be to instill love for the game in my players in a fun, safe, and educated way.  I want to foster the development of my players through previous experiences I have had. While I feel that it is important for me to make my players better athletes, I want them to leave me being better people who are equipped with a good character that carries off of the field.

            How’s does that match with yours? This was from a beginner coach who was  age 18 at the time. A strong philosophy is your guide to dealing with all the issues we face in coaching. What are your core values that you want to have as part of your approach to coaching?

            Write your own personal ‘guide’ or pull out the one you wrote years ago and see what, if anything, you would change. Perhaps you have gained – or are now gaining – a different perspective on the way you approach coaching. It is the starting point for your improvement.

  • Can you make your training sessions more effective?

Regardless of the level you coach or the amount of years you have coached – self-reflection is a key to improving. After each training session asking yourself what went right, what could have gone better and how will you make it better should be part and parcel of your “job”. Now take a look at some of your favorite sessions and ask yourself the following 3 questions:

  1. Are all parts of the session easily applicable to the game? – even a basic passing exercise can have a functional application (i.e. – in the popular box passing exercise):  “pass to the lead foot as we would try to do in the game”. This simple instruction makes this exercise functional to a game.
  • Are players getting multiple, challenging repetitions? (Did you know that just moving a shooting exercise 5-10 yards closer to the goal will increase repetitions significantly?) How else can you increase repetitions?
  • Am I utilizing my Goalkeepers properly?  They are perhaps the most important player on the team in terms of ability to win a game, but we do a poor job of incorporating them into our full session plan. Have a look at how you use them – are they always on their own or can they be improving technically and functionally within your various exercises?  Can you put in places for passing exercises where they are receiving the ball and playing it with everyone in front of them – just as they are required to do a in a game?
  • Practice your ability to analyze a game and improve your players.
    • Do you have game films of your teams? If so, take some time to watch games to improve each individual as well as the team.
    • Can you pick 1-2 things for each player that they can easily improve on when you get back to training. Some of many facets to look at:
      • Weakside positioning defensively.  In defense positioning is everything, so look at your players “starting positions” relative to the ball (as everything in the game is relative first to the position of the ball).
      • Player movements right after they play the ball. Do they play and watch or play and adjust? You may find consistencies in players – some may be different in different parts of the field. The best forwards make themselves more dangerous right after they play the ball. Are your attacking players doing that and how can you help them via film review?
      • Are the various lines staying connected or is there significant space between your back line and midfield? If so , when is that happening and at what times in the game (often this happens more later in the halves). How can you affect that so that your team stays together? Is there a certain player you can improve who is the key to keeping lines together?
    • There are plenty of software programs that analyze games, but none more valuable than the “Eyeball Software” that we all have. Train your eyes to see where improvements can happen. Are breakdowns technical or tactical or both? Challenge yourself to find the ways to make those improvements in your players and team based on what you see.

While we are all being kept away from our players and teams for the time being, we can really improve ourselves – hence improve our players by doing exactly what we are asking of them – practice by yourself. Above are just 3 areas where you can improve yourself as a coach.

Betters Coaches = Better Players = Better Teams    Good luck, stay healthy and remember this:

“When we are through learning, we are through – period.” 

Keith Tabatznik,

Georgetown University Head Coach 22 years,

Director – Elite 300 Soccer Academy

Talent ID Scout US Soccer

Proper Pre-Planning Prevents Poor Post-Pandemic Refereeing …

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.”  Max Ehrman, Desiderate, Circa 1920 

A meeting or casual discussion with referees is usually not complete without comments or concerns about coaches and spectators yelling. It goes without saying that when one becomes a sports official, hearing coaches and spectators yelling is inherent to the avocation.

Officials need to understand the dynamics of the game at hand and determine why a coach may be yelling.  Not ALL yelling may be directed at the officials.  Some coaches may find the need to “yell” at their own players in order to motivate them, give them instructions to prevent further mishaps, or to praise some good plays.

Yelling at officials may carry different messages.  It can be a question: “How could number four be called offside?”, a critique: “How can you call a foul and take away our advantage?”, or support: “Good call, ref!”.

Yelling, in and by itself, should not be considered a criticism of nor a personal attack on the official. Due to the distance involved coaches may see the need to raise their voice in order to be heard.

Coaches who constantly yell may find that the officials, and in cases their players, will eventually shut them off and no longer hear them.

Beside coaching and keeping up with the activities on the field, coaches (especially at the lower levels of play) have other bench issues to deal with (substitutions, injuries, etc…).  Due to circumstances, a coach may not be as focused on the game as the referee is and may interpret plays in a different way.  Their attention may be momentarily distracted and when they see or hear a call go against their team, their reaction of “What was the call?” may come across more like a challenge than a question.

Referees need to analyze the comments they hear from coaches (players and sometimes fans as well).  They need to recognize the delivery as well as what the message is behind the comments being made.

Not everyone may interpret comments being made in the same way but when the situation becomes one of irresponsible behavior on the part of the coach, the referee must deal with it.

A recognized process is the “Ask, Tell, Dismiss” method recommended at all levels of soccer.

When the problem does not seem to be going away anytime soon, the referee can no longer ignore it:

  • Approach the coach, discuss the issue in a non-confrontational way and ASK the coach for help in putting a stop to the issue; which includes dealing with spectators. (NEVER deal with spectators yourself!
  • If the behavior stops then reappears the next step is to TELL the coach to stop the behavior AND issue a caution (yellow card).
  • For those individuals who continue with the irresponsible behavior a DISMISS (red card) is the final step.


Pre-Planning Prevents Poor Post-Pandemic COACHING …

Desiderate –Max Ehrman, Circa 1920   [My Wish For Post Pandemic Coaching] –Koach Karl Circa 2020

Go placidly amid the noise and haste…; [of soccer games] and remember what peace there may be in silence.  [Observe & Take Notes].  

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. [Referees, Opposing coaches, Players and Parents.]

Speak your truth quietly and clearly…; [Before the game, during half-time and after the game] and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.   [Listen today, whatever you do; or, they won’t be there in the future to listen to you.]

Avoid loud and aggressive persons…; [Surely you know why?] they are vexations to the spirit. [They will annoy and irritate you and that is guaranteed].

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.  [No detailed comment necessary because you are different from everyone else and that makes you special].

Enjoy your achievement …  [You have been named ‘Coach’] As well as your plans … [To take your players to the next level using the FUNdamental SOCCER Practice.] 

Keep interested in your own career. [Family and work obligations do not cease just because you are now a coach!]   

Many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. [A coach who cares and takes the time to make each player a part of the team will always be a hero.] 

Be yourself.  [You may not be able to control what is or may happen.  But you can control how you will respond! Know in your heart that you can do the job you’ve set out to do.]

Especially, do not feign affection. [Be fair but firm with all players and treat them with respect.  Teach them about commitment, honesty, caring, mutual respect, teamwork, sportsmanship, etc.]

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. [Discipline your mind to focus only on what is being taught and ignore all other mistakes during practice; Avoid causing Paralyses through Analysis.]

But do not distress yourself with imaginings.  [Do not expect to see in a game anything that was not accomplished in practice]

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.  [Fatigue can cause technique to deteriorate; and selfish play can destroy teamwork]

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. [Focus on the theme of your practice and help only when necessary and only those who need help.]

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding exactly as it should.  [You are the best coach in the world that these players will have this coming season; and they are the best players in the world that you will have this upcoming season. If you happen to coach a winning team this does not automatically make you a good coach.  Just as if you coach a team with a losing record won’t automatically make you a bad coach!]

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, [Wins, Losses and Ties] 

It is still a beautiful world. [It is still a beautiful Game.]

Be Cheerful – Strive to be Happy. [A FUNtastic goal for you to set for the 2020 season and beyond]!

[And never forget that… “The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than… The outcome of any game they will ever play!”  Koach Karl