B. The kids’- or youth coach’s function as a role model
C. The kids’- or youth coach outside of the field
D. The kids’- or youth coach on game day
E. The kids’- or youth coach ensures proper training
If you think working as a kids- or youth coach is limited to the game of soccer, then you either haven‘t been a team coach for long, or never before. A soccer coach is a role model and this enables him to convey certain rules or values, especially to adolescents. You are often closer to the adolescent than the school or the parents. Take this into consideration in your actions and your appearance.
Society has high expectations for a kids- or youth coach, and not just in the areas pertaining to soccer. Integral duties and social responsibility, up to collaboration with the schools and parents; all of this is expected from the kids- or youth coach. Additional expectations for the soccer coach are, instilling values in the adolescents and kids, showing perspectives, function as a confidant for personal problems and teaching team work.
Studies indicated that kids‘ - or youth coaches do not meet these requirements and therefore their duties are overrated. Many soccer coaches limit their functions to organizing the practice and games; either due to time constraints or the lack of basic educational training.
What are the characteristics of a perfect kids‘ - or youth coach?
In following, we have summarized several key words describing a good soccer coach. Any kids - or youth coach would probably be overextended in meeting all of these requirements but many should be considered common sense.
B. Role Model Function of a Kids or Youth Soccer Coach
You can only demand the things of kids and adolescents if you fulfill them as well!
Contact person for the kids
The kids and adolescents are able to approach you with their problems, regardless if personal or soccer related.
Kids and adolescents follow your lead. You will command positive recognition based on expert knowledge and/or social competence, not fear.
Be open and honest. Don’t try to hide your problems or make light of them.
Invest a lot of time and in most cases, money, to implement your goals as a coach.
Fair play without limitations
Don’t criticize the referee and be a good looser or winner. Encourage the children and adolescents to apologize after committing a foul. Fair play also applies to interacting with each other.
Passion for soccer
You are passionate about soccer, show it to the kids and adolescents.
Don’t get impatient if goals or guidelines are not completed or implemented fast enough.
Organized personal environment
You need an organized personal environment in order to concentrate on your duties as a youth coach. Unrest is detrimental to your work
Cursing is not acceptable in kids’- and youth soccer.
Pay attention to your coaching- and game gear.
Control your emotions
No outbursts, keep it professional. Physical and mental violence are unacceptable.
Willingness to help
You are responsible for your team. You are ready to help if anyone on the team needs any type of assistance.
Show courtesy. Opponents, referees, ground-keepers and parents appreciate a little courtesy. Show this to the children as well.
You are able to integrate into groups quickly. You have no problem in accepting new kids or adolescents on the team. Convey integration ability to kids or adolescents as well.
Reasonable interaction with other cultures.
Alcohol should not be part of the team, especially for the coach.
Communicate with the team and its surroundings extensively. This includes group- and individual conversations.
Problem solving ability
You are able to resolve conflicts within the team, regardless of the persons involved.
Accept criticism without holding a grudge.
Implement your rules, if necessary, impose penalties.
Insight into human nature
Understand the worries of kids, adolescents and parents in order to understand and evaluate them better.
Remember your duty as role model.
Organize thoroughly, leave very little to chance.
As a role model you are always punctual.
Monitor your actions carefully and consider your function as a role model.
Believe in your goals and visions.
Show team spirit. Tell the kids and adolescents how important it is to you.
Tolerate other tastes and conducts. Adolescents often have a different preference in music for instance, or other harmless behavioral patterns.
Be aware of your responsibility for the physical and mental wellbeing of your team at all times.
Keep anything disclosed to you confidential.
A coach is always reliable. Cancelling a game or practice should only take place as an exception.
C. The Kids’ - or Youth Coach outside of the field
Ensure a positive mood and lots of fun, especially during practice. Practice time is the longest mutual time period the team spends together.
Many times you get to know kids and adolescents better through their parents. Parents are able to assist you with organizational tasks.
Organize driving services for “away“ games. Check frequently, how the kids and adolescents will get to the game.
Organize excursions and other activities for your team. This enhances team spirit and binds the children and adolescents to the team.
Display loyalty. This pertains to your club and your team. Problems and differences are resolved internally. Never badmouth the club to the team.
Organize team fund maintenance. It helps with many expenses, especially for activities outside of soccer. Discuss the amount of contributions with the parents.
Practice-and game equipment maintenance
Organize and monitor diligent handling of practice equipment and uniforms.
Oftentimes the ground-keeper is the soul of the soccer department. Exercise "courtesy“ in this aspect.
Possible problems children may have
Conduct group– and individual meetings to find out about the kids’ problems. If necessary, contact the parents, schools or other institutions
Pay attention to your practice and game gear as well.
Game participation entitlement
Ensure proper game participation entitlement for kids and adolescents. In many cases the club handles the application.
Seek advanced training. Many years of playing soccer is not enough to coach a kids - or youth team adequately.
Expenditure compensation for the coach
Does your club compensate you for expenses?
Brainstorming within the club- and external coaches.
You participate in club-related work assignments. Include the kids and adolescents. Work is available for any age. The youngest can pick up paper for half an hour, for instance. Support the motto: "We are the club!" , with your team.
The chairman, division- and youth manager are important contact persons. Good and constructive communication is imperative.
Ensure that you team members join the club.
D. The Kids’ - or Youth Coach on Game Day
Prepare the team for the game. Possible tactical prerequisites, depending on the age.
An adequate amount of confidence increases performance.
Ensure that an adequate amount of beverages are available during sport sessions.
For all younger kids.
Praise, comfort, encourage
Everyone needs it, especially kids and adolescents.
Intervention in case of problems outside of the playing field, especially with parents or spectators who display improper conduct.
Organizing game operation
Distribute the game plan containing meeting place, time and opponents to all kids and adolescents. Assembly and disassembly of the playing field and referee supervision. Welcome and dismissal of the opposing team. Fill out playing form. Organize friendship matches and participation in tournaments. Host your own tournaments.
Remain constructive and consider the individual characters during individual critiques.
Make performance secondary
Everyone wants to win; but not at any cost. Especially for the younger players, soccer should be a celebration, a party and should be fun. Performance pressure usually interferes.
Good losers and winners.
E. The Kids’ - or Youth Coach ensures adequate Training
Keep your practice sessions diversified.
Keep explanations short and good
Eliminate health risks. Injuries, diseases, allergies. Inquire regarding the kids’ and adolescents health conditions.
The kids and adolescents should be promoted equally. No one is favored. Training can be adapted to accommodate individual development.
If exercise is non-productive, modify the scheduled training.
Monitor individual exercise errors in children and adolescents. Incorrect form may lead to health hazards/injury.
Prepare a long-term concept and goal.
Continuous self-critical monitoring of the concept and intended goals.
Precise development to eliminate motor skills deficiencies.
Always be well prepared for practice.
Demonstrate exercises/drills and techniques, especially in kids’ soccer.