So for one reason or another you have been selected, asked or coerced into being a youth soccer coach. For some being a soccer coach is a no brainier while others are clueless and possibly shaking in fear. All is not lost and you will have a lot of fun once you get the hang of things. Most coaches continue for years.
As a coach there are a few items you are suddenly responsible for. If you have more sugestions please send to the [email protected] so they can be shared with others.
First thing you have to do is organize your team. You should have been given a huge stack of papers which included a team roster and player registration forms. Run down to an office supply store and buy a 1/2″ notebook with pockets inside and an insertable cover (team name inside on a piece of paper), a packet of plastic page holders and a single metal ring (used later with player documentation).
In the first page place your team roster. You will use this the most.
Reserve the second page for a parents page. Make a player phone list and include the names of the parents.
In the next pages place each player alphabetically.
Now you need to pick a time to meet everyone and find a practice location. Contact the club scheduler or fields manager to reserve a practice slot. This may need to be adjusted if 80% of your team can not make your initial practice times. Just make sure you let the club know.
CALL YOUR TEAM. Call everyone and start the team rolling. At the team meeting try and insist every single parent to do something. You already spend time learning how to coach, shouldn’t your parents spend time learning how to mow fields, mark lines and bring after game snacks? Check out team organization on ideas about jobs for the parents. If you come across any other parent jobs let us know. The more your parents are involved with the team the better your practices will be (kids show up) and the more fun games will be (you might win). If your parents are not involved then you become a baby sitting service and that is not a positive thing. I would charge $50/week for daycare service but you have to split it with the club.
Player documentation and stuff
Player ID cards. Got to have them and they have to be correct.
A small picture of every player and coach. Bring a camera or ask the parents to bring a small picture.
Sign the card. If the player is old enough to sign then let them sign the card. They get a kick out of it. If too young they can still “sign” the card with their mark. As the players get older the cards become very important as far as advancement in the season.
Laminate the card. Either go to the office supply store and by laminate sheets (the hard way) or go to Kinko’s and have them laminate them. At Kinko’s they will laminate them about 9 or 12 at a time into sheets. Take that sheet and find a cutter (towards the front normally) and slice and dice the page into individual cards. With a little practice you will be making some nice looking cards.
Punch a hole in each card (same place on all of them, near and edge or corner) and alphabetically put them on the metal ring you bought earlier. Then place this in the notebook. The cards sorted alphabetically make it easier for the referee during team check-in time at the games.
Medical releases. If you are going to tournaments you will need to have a signed medical release for every player. Slip this in the sheet protector adjacent to the player’s registration form.
Uniforms because you can’t play naked.
Check with the uniform manager to get your uniforms.
Coaches ID card. See player ID card above. Every coaching person will need to obtain a coaches ID card or they will have to sit with the parents. The registrar will help you get a coaches ID card.
Kidsafe pass. Every adult who works regularly with the kids is required to have a Kidsafe pass. The rules state it should be worn but who wants a plastic flap blowing in the breeze while you are coaching and playing with the kids. This are obtained by filling out the on-line form at www.stxsoccer.org and following the direction. If you are successful in making it past all the traps and hurdles you will be presented with a Kidsafe ID number. That is your temporary pass until the real arrives 4 to 8 weeks later. If you do not get a number then you made a mistake. Go back and look for red text which indicates the field in error, normally.
Three basic rules (they can be challenging at times)
No lines – players standing in line get bored and bored players start to goof off. Once kids start to goof off you lose control of your practice. Try to keep all kids working at the same time.
No laps – This is not a track team. If they need to build endurance then have them do it with a ball. A small 2v2 game can be very strenuous and they will learn much more soccer than a lap around the field, even dribbling a ball.
No lectures – keep you talks to a minimum. No more than a few minutes. They learn by doing, not by listening.
Kids need to stay hydrated. Thirsty kids are grumpy kids. There is lots of information on dehydration and sports. Take a few hours one afternoon and research on it.
Have Fun. Rule number one at all games is have fun. Bring a chair and relax. The parents are getting to relax and enjoy the game so why not you? Enjoy the fact that the kids are out there running up and down the field and down and up the field. Working their brains, hearts, lungs and muscles and having a great time doing it. If they make a mistake, make a note and try to correct it at the next practice. This is their game so let them play. This is a good time to watch for those pesky sideline coaching parents. If they want to coach tell them to fill out the forms and get on your side of the field.
Instruct your parents to sit on the opposite sidelines from you. That is not diagonal or behind the goal lines. You want to look up and see their smiling faces across the field from you as they cheer the team on. Another point is sit. Standing parents move about too much and start cheering the wrong person on, mainly the referee who does not take to cheering very well. Plus they move about and get all sweaty, block the other parents from seeing the game and stuff. Inform the parents/family/friend/pets their place is between the center line and the top of the penalty box (the BIG box in front of the goals) starting 6 feet back from the touch line (sideline for you football people). It is quite permissible for them to sit even farther back but 600 yards makes it hard to see and hear the game.
Every kid plays. Every player is required to be allowed to play a minimum of 50% of the game. If you have a large team is can be challenging but take a pen and paper with you and its not too bad. Or enlist a player time keeper from one of your parents and make them an assistant coach. If you have a kid who is being disciplined for one reason or another then tell the referee before the game starts. Read your coaches handbook on the specific rules. Don’t make a habit of doing this or our D&P VP may be calling you.
Red card last game. Bad player (or bad coach) you should never get a red card. You need to follow the current rules in dealing with a sit-out. Basically you need to have the fact that the player (or coach) is serving a red card (suspension) for this game. There is now a suspension form that must also be taken to the game. If you forget and play, or forget the form and get the required signatures then you will be treated like Mr. Phelps of Mission Impossible. Everyone will disavow any knowledge of your player (or you) serving the suspension, you will forfeit that game and your player (or you) will have to sit out one more game. Red cards are serious.
Game cards. Turn in your game cards or face the wrath of our scorekeeper. Missing game cards cost the club $25 every time one shows up missing . They are placed in a top secret location known only to the scorekeeper and a few select coaches. If you don’t know where then call the scorekeeper or attend the monthly club meeting. Details for the meeting are found on the board and meeting page.
Team doing pretty well and you think you might make the play-offs? You better have all your team documentation in place.
Play-off Advancement Form. You have to have this one completed and turned in long before you get close to the play-offs. If you have not filled one out you are not going to the play-offs, even if the top 5 teams drop out and you are number 6. Talk to your parents and ask them to commit because if you say yes and only 3 kids show up the club is fined and a black mark goes on your permanent record. Its a nasty thing. Also its a bad thing to not being able to go to the play-offs because you forgot to fill out a silly bit of paper.
NOTE: If you do well, you make it to all the way to eastern district and possibly state finals. Each year those games are help someplace and normally not here. The BAYSA website eventually lists locations. They can be anywhere from Beaumont to Corpus Christi to Austin. If you want to see a few of those games here, speak up at the club meetings and volunteer to help organize them. Its like a mini tournament over one weekend.
Penalty Points Report. Once you advance to Eastern District Play-offs life gets more complicated. You need another bit of paper called a penalty points report which shows every yellow and red card your team has received. If your team has been good boys or girls it will be mostly blank otherwise it will list in grizzly black and white every mistake you claim the referees made regarding fair play.
Lots of them on the net.
Club meetings and other coaches.
I don’t know. Maybe just have fun.