Competitiveness can be an ambiguous word. What does it mean to be competitive? Being competitive is not simply hating to lose. It’s someone who’s willing to do whatever it takes to train and play to the best of their ability, no matter the score, no matter the weather, fatigue, etc. It’s someone who does not easily succumb to the feeling of self-doubt, embarrassment, or indifference.
In order to master any job one must understand the role of the position. The role of coach is to teach. At the end of each season, if the players have increased individual ability and a better understanding of the game, then the objectives of the coach have been met. The role of a coach is not to invent ways to win soccer games at the expense of his or her players.
Coaching is a difficult and rewarding job and is much more than just running players through a series of drills and activities. The coaches job is to try to shape a player’s behavior on the field and enhance their skills and understanding of the game. This is much easier with younger players because they’re essentially blank canvases. For older players, a coach has the task of peeling off old layers and painting a new picture.
Given that technique and skill are the cornerstone of player development, it’s vital for the instructor to continually demonstrate these skills. Young players need a visual model of technique, broken down step by step. The mechanics of these skills have to also be demonstrated while progressively adding degrees of pressure. Above all, these skills have to be executed in the game environment.
Every teacher must be an effective communicator. A communicator must be clear and concise when delivering information particularly when it’s feedback to a player/parent. For example: saying to a player “I need more from you” is non-specific and vague. Young players need specific feedback. Ensure that players have clear direction and clear a measurable through which they can develop a healthy sense of accountability.
A coach must be a leader. He or she must understand each player in relation to their technique/skill, soccer IQ, athleticism, and mindset. A coach has to understand the emotional needs of his/her players in relation to their age and gender. The player has to trust that the coach continually has their best interests at heart.
Educating the Parent:
In order to optimize the learning environment for the player, the parent must be on side of the coach. It’s important for parents to buy into the coach’s methodology and have the ability to recognize and measure the same values as the coach. Many parents wrongly believe that the job of the coach is to win. It’s the job of the coach to help parents to understand otherwise. By getting the parent to re-focus on the technical and tactical evolution of their child, a lot can be gained.