The Role of a Coach

by Lawrence Fine

To be a coach is to be a teacher or educator. If you think the primary
role of coaching is recruiting players, talking to other coaches,
motivating players (or anyone else) then you have mistaken the role of
a coach with that of a manager. In no way do I want to imply that these
things are unimportant but rather they are very important but not what
coaching is all about.

I think that too many "coaches" have forgotten about teaching at all
and instead are simply looking for the glory of working with the best
players they can find. If you really want to make a difference as a
coach, go out and work with a young inexperienced team instead of
looking for the older more talented and more experienced players to
train. Your winning percentage might go down but your satisfaction
level will go up dramatically.

To be a successful coach requires a number of different things. First,
it certainly requires some knowledge of the game. However, I think the
biggest thing it requires is caring about the players. It doesn't
matter how many times you say you care or anything like that, it comes
down to your actions. Players will pick up on a coach who cares in a
second and will also pick out one who doesn't in the same amount of
time. If you are a coach and you care, it's amazing how many mistakes
you can "get away with" simply because players will understand that
everyone makes mistakes but not
everyone cares.

Way too many coaches (I am speaking of both club and school coaches)
spend too much time looking for the next super star and not enough time
trying to develop some
good soccer players. Short term, the "recruiter" might be successful
but long term the developer will prevail.

This has been a different type of newsletter then most of my other ones
and I will go back to more "soccer related" topics next week but
sometimes I just feel the need to get back on my soap box.

Lawrence Fine