fundamental soccer logo

Fundamental Soccer Blog


Great read! What Tom Byer writes, “Why Coaching the Coaches Isn’t the Solution,” makes absolute sense. Our difficulty in North America is that we have structures in place that have been around for a considerable amount of time. I have always preached that coaches’ goal should be to make themselves redundant or at least wean the child off learning dependency.

How to change our philosophy that learning can only develop with coaching or teaching is a big ask, even if we could get people to back off of a structure and process that is adult-directed.

As a teacher, coach, and parent, I have noticed that children are more engaged if I shut up. The point we miss is that learning is an internal, intrinsic process. For children to stop and listen requires them to. We have to hope our instructions are pertinent, correct, and timely. Even then, experienced coaches and teachers know many will not listen, misunderstand, or be completely misguided. I haven’t even touched on different learning styles, levels of maturity, or prior required learnings.

Each year children change teams (for the most part). New coaches and teachers have little time to assess where each child is in their development. Most couldn’t do it even if they wanted to. In short, we have a process centered around the coach or teacher when we do not even know the relative success of this model. In soccer, we know that most volunteer coaches are not qualified, even at the basic levels. Still, we proceed as we believe this is the only way we can.

When I closed my Academy a few years back, several parents asked me what they could do to help their children. They had little faith in the local program to properly handle and develop their children. These children would have to play in those leagues where the emphasis was NOT on development. My answer is, “Ask your children to get together with their friends, go to the local school or field, and just play.” They were taken aback as my Academy used coaches and had a formal training center.

I reasoned that I had my coaches use a Phased Approach to learning. We would group children and use an active play model depending on Ability Levels. It took a while to train my coaches, not to coach, at least in the traditional sense. I hated listening to coaches go on and on. If they had a brief intervention, fine. Make your point, and let’s move on. My biggest concern was not drills, systems of play, or any scenario where their play restricted their ability to think for themselves.

KOACH KARLS’ NOTE: Please share your thoughts on Phase 1: We’re eager to hear your insights and ideas. Plus, don’t miss (Phase 2) next week, where Coach Howe delves even deeper into the topic!

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)