February 20, 2012
To all WWSC Coaches,
Many will say that you can measure success by how many players return each season and ask for you by name. Some will say
it's how well you prepare each player for the future by increasing their skills on the ball. While each are equally important, this
page will attempt to address how coaching youth sports can be seen as considerably more.
My oldest son graduated from Southridge High School in June of 2011. The ceremony was held in the Chiles Center at the
University of Portland. We arrived at the venue before the doors opened and wandered through the crowd of families who were
greeting each other, shaking hands, and extending best wishes. It hadn't occurred to me that I would run into a lot of families
from past teams that I coached. But there we were, saying hello to each other like long lost buddies and members of the same
family. It was a Comanche Team reunion right there in the parking lot.
What happened next was totally unexpected, took me completely by surprise and will hold a special place in my memory forever.
One of my former players (as tall as I am now) grabbed my hand and threw his big arm around my shoulder and yelled out to
everyone "Now this is the greatest coach in the whole world!" At first I was taken back by his volume and tone and wondered if it
he was not just a little caught up in the moment. But he looked me straight in the eye and said "no kidding coach, of all my
coaches...you were the best." He continued, "That time we spent on the soccer field taught me how to work hard and not give up."
My eyes welled up slightly. We told some old stories about his gushing bloody nose, the great ice bowl game we played in the
freezing rain that year. We laughed and eventually moved on with the main event.
After more than a decade as a parent volunteer, over 25 team seasons, close to 600 kids / 1200 parents, I can honestly say that
coaching soccer has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life. Each of you have an opportunity to reach out
to these kids in a way that only a few people ever will. Do not take this lightly.
The lessons learned with you as their leader on the soccer field are same life lessons that will help them get through middle
school, graduate from High School, earn a college degree, get a good job, have a good marriage, be a good parent, and give
back to the community. During the course of your season, you will undoubtedly ask each of your players to be disciplined
towards increasing their skills, to never give up and to always try their best. Make your expectations known on the first day and be
consistent by reiterating what you want to see from them throughout the season.
You will find players who are willing take chances and leave nothing behind, they are most likely to excel at overcoming obstacles
in sports, relationships, and their careers. But look to the others who perhaps have not yet learned this lesson in life and help
them along the way. As the coach, your job will be to find a way to elevate the entire team and not just a few.
Successful coaches lead by example, they're role models for the entire team. When asking players to demonstrate good
sportsmanship traits and to respect all who participate in the game, you will have to show them how. Most of the players are
exposed to negative examples by what they see on TV and video games, or their older siblings or relatives might not take it
seriously. You'll need to explain the rules clearly, demonstrate by your own actions, and let them know when they fall out of step.
Being a successful coach is not without a considerable amount of challenges, stress and hard work. Each page of the "Coaches
Handbook" is designed to help you be successful. But this is only one of many resources available to you. I highly recommend
all coaches get their "E" License as soon as possible and partake in as many age appropriate OYSA Coaches Clinics EVERY
season. If you've never coached a team before, you should give me a call and find out when the next "Team Administrator" class
I will close this letter by listing my personal ideas on what it takes to be a successful coach. Thanks for your time in visiting this
site, I hope you find the information useful and timely. If you have an questions at all, feel welcome in contacting me through
email at : firstname.lastname@example.org.
A successful coach knows how to evaluate players abilities and use this
information to form practice plans / game strategies that allow each individual
to improve their skills, increase self esteem and build confidence.
A successful coach knows how to challenge each player, to elevate their
performance and turn the entire team into winners, not just a few.
A successful coach knows how player personal gains on the field are more
important than the score and works to build skills in order to place them into
positions where they can be successful.
A successful coach understands the awesome sight of watching his team lose
a game by score and yet win the overall match because they dug deep, gave
all, and left everything on the field.
Players who are instructed by successful coaches will demonstrate a healthy
and respectful attitude both on and off the field.