Read an Excerpt
It all began so innocently.
Just as the youth soccer league administrator asked for a volunteer to coach your son's team, you scratched the top of your head. All the other parents were studying, with sudden keen interest, their thumbnails or shoelaces. No eyes, except yours, were looking forward.
The administrator saw her chance.
"Excellent! We have a new coach!"
To your astonishment, you saw that she was pointing directly at you. Parents, with relieved looks on their faces, turned to look at you. Some smirked. A few chuckled. All were joyful.
"Relax," one parent said. "The season doesn't start till next week."
"My kid's a striker. That's the only position he plays," another parent said as he gave you a good view of the bulldog tattooed on his bicep.
"My son plays sweeper," another parent added, as if he bought his son the position from Major League Soccer, which had granted the boy sole rights to play sweeper on your team.
"I never knew you could coach, Dad," your son said as you walked to your car.
"Sure I can coach," you said. "How difficult can it be?" You hoped you at least sounded convincing.
Every spring and fall, all across America, youth soccer leagues swing into action. Every year, thousands upon thousands of new coaches are tabbed to guide the players. The majority of those coaches have little or no experience coaching.
If you are one of those coaches, this book is for you. It is intended primarily for coaches of players from 6 to 12 years old, but it is applicable to coaches of older players as well. Use it as your rudder to guide you through your season. Use this book to
- Understand your role, and know what to expect, as a coach.
- Know the keys to being a good coach.
- Realize why kids play sports and consider how this should affect your approach to coaching.
- Bone up on the basic rules of soccer and learn how to impart those rules to your players.
- Provide for kids' safety and respond to emergency situations.
- Learn the general principles of teaching skills and tactics.
- Teach individual skills and team tactics.
- Coach effectively during games.
- Make the sport experience a meaningful and enjoyable one for the kids.
- Communicate effectively with parents, league administrators, referees, and players.
- Form positive alliances with parents, involving them in various ways.
- Plan for your season and your practices.
- Discover the keys to conducting productive practices.
- Celebrate victories and learn from defeats.
- Keep it all in perspective.
This guide presents the foundational concepts that effective coaches follow, and it shows you, step-by-step, how to incorporate those concepts, plan your season, and conduct your practices. It provides many forms you will need, including sample and blank season and practice plans, a sample letter to parents, an injury report and emergency information card, and a season evaluation form. It has games and drills you can use to teach your players the skills and tactics they need to know. It details how to execute the fundamental skills and tactics, so you will know what to teachand it lays out how to teach. It is also replete with practical tips that will help your season be a success.
How This Book Is Organized
This book is organized in three parts. Part I, "Coaching Basics," provides guidance in a number of areas, including your basic approach to coaching, communication keys, safety principles, and practice planning. Part II, "Skills and Tactics," delves into the specifics of the skills and tactics your players will need to learn, ending with an entire chapter devoted to games and drills you can use to teach those skills and tactics.
Part III, "Appendixes," are six appendixes that you should find useful. This material includes a sample letter to parents, a medical emergency form, an injury report, blank season and practice plans you can use for your own planning, and a season evaluation form you can use at the end of your season.
Throughout the book you will find the following special elements:
Note - This is a note element. Notes give you relevant information that doesn't necessarily fit in the text flow.
Tip - Tips are given to help you do something more efficiently or to give you the "inside" view on how to accomplish something related to coaching soccer.
Caution - Cautions give you a loud "Heads up!" regarding issues or situations you want to avoid. These point out pitfalls, potential safety hazards, and any other items that could pose trouble to you or your team.
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