Filed under: Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Uncategorized | Tags: advice, clubs, players, rejection
It’s that time of year again when clubs up and down the country have lists of players they want to keep and unfortunately lists of players they are going to let go. At grassroots level most of the players will be kept on as long as mum and dad want them to stay there or as long as their friends are still with the team.
What also happens though is the academies up and down the country will be drawing up lists of players at every age group that they are going to let go. And in the mind of a child that is a huge thing – because it isn’t about mum and dad letting them stay because their friends have done so it is because they haven’t ‘impressed’ the coaching team enough.
I hear a lot of stories about players being let go by text message or even lists pinned up on the club noticeboard. One of my players was snapped up at an early age by a local Championship club and he played for a season with the team. He was an excellent player and had a massive love of the game.
However, he came to hate the competitive nature of the training and matches that he took part in with every kid there vying to catch the coach’s eye. Parents too became very competitive and his parents were uneasy with the situation.
At the end of the season all the players were called together and the coach said “if your name is called out go through into the other room; if it isn’t you will be contacted”. Basically if your name wasn’t called out you were not going to be kept on.
The boy in question didn’t have his name called out. There was no talking to him or explaining the decision or anything to give him a hint of hope for the future, it was just thanks, but no thanks, you’re not good enough for us.
But I knew he was good enough I had seen in him that he could make the grade but the conditions he was playing in and the atmosphere at the club had put him off.
We welcomed him back to our club with open arms and tried to take away some of the hurt he was feeling. He was quiet for most of that next season before thankfully he kicked on and became the player he was before he left.
If you have a list of players you are going to let go please make sure you talk to them and explain the reasons why – it will help them to come to terms with the decision.
As we all know sometimes it can be in the child’s interest if the decision has been taken that they are not wanted by the club – or sometimes in the interest of the team if there is a disruptive player involved. But let’s not lose sight of the main fact – it’s the life of a child we are dealing with so tread carefully.
Filed under: Better Soccer Coaching Blog Guests, Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: behaviour, coach, parents, players, relationships, respect
Respect is at the center of the player-coach relationship. With a setting that is based on respectful behavior, all members of a team can thrive. A parent’s role in helping a child to have a good relationship with a coach is one of instruction, encouragement and support. Unless you, the parent, are the one doing the coaching, it’s not possible to control how the coaching is handled. However, you can work to provide positive support that will enable a child to have a good experience.
Although children at different levels have different physical and behavioral abilities, it’s always possible to teach respect. Important aspects of respectful behavior include paying attention when the coach speaks or models a skill, listening without interrupting, following directions, trying new skills and asking questions in a polite manner. Additionally, respectful behavior involves not being distracted by other kids. Simple use of polite words and behaviors can also help form a positive relationship. Teach your child to thank the coach for his time at the end of practice.
A young child can stray off task easily, and distractions are common in early league levels. However, coaches working with young children are generally trained to keep activities shorter to accommodate age-related needs. As children grow older, more attentive behavior can be expected as longer drills and activities are provided. Help a child to enjoy a good relationship with coaches at any level by reinforcing respectful behavior with encouraging words. Correct your child when inappropriate behavior is observed, and be sure to praise positive behavior.
Model Respectful Behavior
Your child doesn’t have control over his arrival time. Being late to practices and games can create problems for the coach, and it’s on you to make sure your child arrives on time. The team can also suffer if multiple kids are late or absent. Good communication from a parent can help. Let your child’s coach know if he will be absent or late. Make it a point to be on time for official activities. Follow through on commitments to the team, especially those involving things like after-game snacks or important forms.
A parent who expects a child to show respect for an authority figure like a coach must also model such behavior. If you bad-mouth the coach’s style, decisions or other actions, your child may assimilate some of these same sentiments into his own behavior. If he perceives negativity on the part of Mom or Dad, he may feel that he is justified in acting out or criticizing on his own.
No coach is perfect, and parents often disagree about a coach’s decisions. However, helping a child to have a positive experience means that it’s important to avoid attacking his coach publicly or privately. This can be tough, especially if there is a perception that the coach hasn’t treated a child fairly. However, it’s important to remember the power you have as a role model.
Act in a Supporting Role
Coaches often appreciate the availability of parents during practices and games. Having a parent available makes it possible to quickly deal with serious behavioral issues. Additionally, having a few parents help out can lighten the duties of the coach by making it easier to manage drills and other administrative tasks. Consider volunteering as a team parent and assisting a coach in coordinating distribution of team notices, uniforms or fundraising materials. Demonstrate a willingness to help set an example for a child while supporting the coach. Parental support can do a lot to keep a child’s relationship with the coach positive.
Dealing with Differences
It’s important to realize that no matter how attentive and cooperative a child is, the player-coach relationship is two-sided. There will be times when a parent may not agree with how a play is handled, where a child is positioned, or when a child has to sit out for a play (or longer). An unintended slight can lead to a negative relationship between parents, players and coaches. It’s important to address concerns directly with the coach. Similarly, teach a child to ask questions respectfully if he disagrees with how a situation has been handled. Help your youngster understand that the coach is the leader and has the responsibility for decision-making. It’s important not to over-exaggerate small issues. At the same time, a pattern of oversights may require some private discussion.
Your child will have many coaches over time. Every coach will be unique in his approach to team discipline, drills and game strategies. It’s important to help your child understand that respect is an ongoing priority. Encourage him with positive points at the beginning of a season, and continue to model support and cooperation in order to facilitate a pleasant player-coach relationship.
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Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: coaching, coaching style, communication, exercises, physical, player centric, players, verbal, visual
I went to a demonstration this week by a couple of highly respected youth coaches to see examples of the different ways you can coach young players. There were some really good coaching and session ideas that I was privileged to take away from the get together.
However, one thing that was clear to me was that the players were having a hard time understanding exactly what was expected of them.
Both sessions were player- and activity-centric – but, because this was a meet-up designed for coaching knowledge, the players at times were clearly unsure of what they were doing and what was expected of them. In that respect, the experiment failed on all levels, bar one – namely in reminding me that one of the most important things you must do with players is ensure they are ‘with you’ at every step along the path of learning. It’s the whole purpose of what we do, after all.
If you notice that players are not doing what they are supposed to or are looking around to see how others perform the task, either they were not listening or you failed to get instructions across well enough.
Remember, players understand things in three different ways:
It is important that for each demonstration a coach must:
- Perform and show the technique that is being learnt, or recreate the scenario for tactical feedback (the visual part).
- Use explanations and key coaching points through the stages of the demonstration (the verbal part).
- Let the players perform the technique or replay the situation (the physical part).
This way, you can be sure your players know what they are doing. And it will ensure you make the most of every session you take.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: angry parents, how to win, meeting, parents, players, problems
There will be times as a coach when you have trouble dealing with parents.
Parents are one of your main support links with the team and you rely on them for lots of things – mainly getting their child to training or matches. However, your biggest supporter could become your biggest problem if they feel aggrieved by the way their child has been handled.
This can result in problems in the coach-player relationship
A cross parent can be difficult to get through to because when dealing with their child logic or reason goes out of the window. This can be very stressful for coaches, and in some instances could threaten their job with the team.
Here is my blueprint to dealing with parents.
- Arrange a meeting rather than have a stand up argument at the side of the pitch.
- Hold the meeting in private but have another coach or some other person present.
- Do some digging and find out if the parent has previous history of aggressive or unreasonable behaviour.
- What does the problem revolve around? Playing time/Not starting games/Upset by coach. You could put together a plan of how to resolve this but if the parent is being unreasonable don’t agree to something that means other players will suffer – time on the pitch for example.
- Give parents time to get their point across without interruptions.
- Give your point of view but don’t give too much information than is necessary and don’t discuss other players.
- If possible, document the facts or details of the parent’s complaint. Determine whether any and all supportive information will be available at the meeting.
- When meeting with the parent, always have another person sit in on the meeting, perhaps the AD, assistant principal, or another coach–someone to verify what actually takes place.
- Meeting alone with the parent can develop into a no-win scenario.
- At the meeting, allow the parent to vent his or her spleen. Make mental notes, but do not interrupt.
- Avoid attacking the parents over the reasons they may be attacking you.
- If parents start being rude or shouting at you stay calm and let them calm down
- Go over the meeting in your mind and action any points you have agreed with the parents. What could you have done better? How could you have made it easier for yourself?