Ask yourself the following questions and be honest with yourself:
Do I spend a lot of time yelling instructions during games?
When spectators see me from across the field, do I look stressed or relaxed?
Do I smile as much as I could?
Am I personally having fun?
Am I constantly involved in conflicts with other coaches or the referee?
As a Youth Soccer coach, the players and their families will look to you for guidance and follow your example. If you fall short in any of the above items then chances are your team will too. Set your personal goals high, express your need for good sportsmanship with the team, and correct those that make mistakes.
Here are a few items to look for in both spectators and players
Cussing, put downs, negative talk, bullying
Purposely ignoring the rules of the game
Purposely trying to gain a tactical advantage by unfair activities or breaking the rules
Disrespectful talk and/or body language by coaches, players and their families
A coach may wear many hats during the course of one day. In any one hour of soccer you may have to switch roles between being an administrator, a teacher, a disciplinary, confidant, and friend. For this reason alone, it's important to be organized and prepared. A prepared coach is a confident, strong leader who is to be respected by all. Set you goals to become this person.
Do your best to be friendly and smile as much as possible. Leave your worries in the car and escape into the wonderful world of soccer. The time you have with the kids is so short so enjoy every minute you can.
Setting the tone is an important step that is commonly overlooked by many coaches. But the fact is that once the parents and players understand the coaches mind set, and the rules they will be expected to follow, it will allow them to settle into a routine, kickback and enjoy the game. Set the tone at the beginning of the season by explaining the rules and your expectations.
The initial Team meeting is one of the most important events. It's one of the only times you will have the complete attention of most parents & players at the same time. Please visit the "Communications" page for more details and suggestions.
Once you have set the bar at a reasonable place, you will need to hold others accountable when they fall short. It is important to address these issues constructively and with respect. Remember to always ask questions and not make demands. Put yourself in the other persons shoes and try to see it from their perspective. Remember your top priorities are Safety, Fun and Skill Development. Get help from others in the club when you need advice. Keep your AGC in the loop when it comes to dealing with confrontations or unsportsmanlike conduct.
Below are some of the biggest mistakes a coach can make when setting the tone with the team.
Example # 1:Not being organized when it comes to knowing dates, time & location of events. Not communicating this clearly to the team by email and person to person conversations. Results: People will be late to practices and games. Players will not have enough time to warm up and get their heads into the game. Players will feel left out when they miss pre-game and pre-practice warm up activities.
Preventative Tone Setting Actions: Use this site and others like it to prepare yourself for what it takes to be a successful team administrator. Talk to your AGC, Club Head Coach, or other coaches you respect and ask for tips on how stay organized. Utilize email as much as possible and tell your team parents to check it regularly for updates; especially before they head out the door for an event. Write the following statement in big bold letters at the top of your email and hold people accountable when they don't respond: **PLEASE HIT THE REPLY BUTTON AND SAY "GOT IT" TO CONFIRM YOUR RECEIPT OF THIS EMAIL**
******************************************************************************** Example #2:Acting in an unsportsmanlike behavior yourself or NOT correcting your players when you see or hear about unsportsmanlike acts such as bullying, cussing, teasing, cheating, put downs or gaining an unfair advantage.
Specific example #1: The coach on the side lines during a game continuously yells instructions into the players. The coach says "Don't take that from the other team, if they push you again then you better push them back".
Specific example #2: A player on your team is very aggressive and often hurts other players by kicking, pushing, and can be heard cussing at times to the referee. Results:Both of these examples are appalling and disrespectful to the spirit of the game. If you find yourself in this situation then you need to take action and/or get help right away. Try to remember that players and parents tend to mimic the coach's behavior. If they see you doing or condoning poor behavior then they will also behave the same way. Not only can this lead to injuries on the field, it can create a hostile environment in the stands, where verbal or physical confrontations are more likely to occur.
If you witness one of your players acting this way during a game then you need to correct them as soon as possible. Players who repeat this mistake should be voluntarily substituted and talked with on the sidelines. If they do not obey the rules then you will have to discuss the situation with their parent / guardian. If the parent / guardian cannot help (or won't help) then bring it to your AGC and Club Head Coach right away. Preventative Tone Setting Actions: Lead by example. Be aware of your body language, facial expressions, and especially the words you use when talking with or around the players. Discuss the Parents Code of Conduct at the beginning of the season and provide the parents an opportunity to ask questions. Ask your parent / guardian to visit the parents section of the Go Westside Warriors site and review the Conduct for Parents there. You can also ask the parent to read, print, sign and bring to you a the Parent's Code of Conduct form. If you demonstrate respect to the players then they will respect you in return. If you demonstrate respect to the referee and your opponents then your players will see this and act in the same way. When you talk about sportsmanship and hold the players accountable with disciplinary actions when the make mistakes then you can turn the situation into a collective learning experience for the entire team.