Why Coach?

All teams are required to provide two referees who will do ten games each during the season

Who are the A.Y.S.O. coaches?

The players’ dads, moms, uncles, aunts, grandpas, grandmas, older brothers, older sisters… Anyone 18 years of age or older who has the desire to help children learn how to play soccer through positive coaching in a safe, fun, and fair environment.

I don’t know anything about soccer, I’ve never played the game, I have not even watched a single soccer game on TV.

We will provide you with coaching clinics and classes prior to the start of the season. You will also be given an easy to follow manual with simple instructions and an explanation of A.Y.S.O. philosophies and regulations. Knowing the game comes second to your desire to help the kids and to be part of A.Y.S.O.

Now that I have volunteered to be a coach, what do I do now?

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Don’t be mad if someone else volunteered you without you knowing about it.
  3. Attend the coaching clinics, read the manuals given to you, watch a few games on TV or better yet go to one of the local games. Talk to your friends or anyone you know who is or has been a coach before.

Please read your manual and all the information given to you at the coach’s meeting, retain the 6 philosophies of A.Y.S.O, fill out the volunteer form. Attend the coaches clinics. There you will learn valuable tools for your practices. Always remember you can call the coach administrator, referee administrator or your division directors for support and advice. We are all part of a team, we’re here to help one another for the benefit of the kids.

Although you may not be prepared for it, you will find that coaching is a lot of fun and it can also be very addictive for all the following positives reasons.

  • Participating in your child’s activities.
  • Helping other kids.
  • Creating a fun and safe environment for them to play soccer in.
  • Being part of a community. (3000 players and counting)
  • Taking on a new challenge.
  • Learning new skills.
  • Getting that exercise you keep postponing.
  • Meeting new people.
  • Having fun.
  • We need you!

Besides teaching kids how to play soccer you will also help them build a positive attitude towards their teammates, referees, coaches and toward themselves. Coaching is not just about teaching a striker how to score or teaching a basketball player how to achieve a slam dunk. For a coach, soccer becomes a tool to help the kids learn about themselves and the people around them. Anyone can become a coach but a good coach is not defined by how many games his/her team wins.

Here are a few simple tips for first time coaches. Learn as much about the sport in the time frame you’re given. Become familiar with the Laws of the game and basic techniques of soccer. Some coaches will conduct training sessions and coach games with no preparation. Attend coaching courses and clinics to learn how to prepare and organize your practices and how to manage your team.

There are two major differences between soccer and other sports:

  1. Since you play soccer with your feet, there is no perfection; the game is always unpredictable and game situations change, literally, every second.
  2. Given its unpredictability, soccer is one of the few sports in which players must learn to make split second decisions to be effective. In most sports, players “execute” or carry out the orders of the coach. In soccer, players must execute movements based on the movement of the ball and the players. Hence, players must learn to make their own decisions on the field!

You, as a coach, provide advice, direction, and instructions during practices. This is your “classroom”. The games on Saturday are the “tests” of what the players have learned in training and self practice. Coaches who provide a constant stream of instruction during the game are giving their players the answers to the test! The players will not learn to make their own decisions on the field if coaches do that for them from the sidelines. In soccer, more than in most sports, the game is the greatest teacher. The best training then, is playing. Especially with the U-10 and younger player, skills can be trained “incidentally” while playing soccer! Small sided games provide players with maximum ball contacts and decision making opportunities. Standing in lines, for example, does not occur in a game nor will it provide repetitive ball contact and movement. The best youth soccer coaches teach players the techniques in “game” environments which provide purposeful activity, enjoyment, and relevance to the game.

Judge your success by how many players return to play next season and continue to play through high school. Not by how many games you have won. The biggest responsibility youth coaches have is to provide an enjoyable learning experience.

Wins and losses at the youth level are insignificant relative to this responsibility. The players’s need for challenge is innate. Their perception that winning and losing is the barometer for success is learned from adults. Your preoccupation or focus on the final score as an indicator of quality will lead you astray from the real focus: developing the players’s techniques and their love for the game. If wins and losses define success for you, you will begin to teach strategy to the youngsters to win games, rather than to develop their technical and tactical abilities.

Coaching to win at the youth level is the wrong focus. Train for the long term and the future success of the children, not the current win loss record.

You are a role model to the players and families. Teach good sportsmanship to the players and parents. During the games remain in your technical area when coaching (usually 10 yards on each side of the half way line). Support the kids with positive encouragement but keep your technical coaching to a minimum, the game is for the kids to implement what you taught them during practice. Play by play instructions are counterproductive as they do not entice the kids to think while playing.

If your team is losing, try not to show your disappointment, the kids are still playing and they are still having fun, make the best of it, we’re here for them, not the other way around.

Remember that your behavior toward the referees dictates the way your players and their parents will learn how to relate to referees. Referees are volunteers just as you are.

Negative comments towards the referees have no place on the field or on the sidelines.

Now that you know you made the right decision by volunteering here’s a few situations you may be confronted with. You could be presented with situations where some parents may wreak havoc on the sidelines, disagree with your methods, and complain. There is often a parent on the team who knows more than you do (so they think) and who will not be shy about letting you and the rest of the parents know. They know soccer better than the coaches but they are never around when we need volunteers. Don’t be discouraged if your team isn’t playing “soccer” like a pro team, we know you are here for the kids and your knowledge of soccer comes second to your desire to help the kids. Win or lose, if the kids are smiling then you’ve done most of your job.

Although it doesn’t happen often some parents will think of you as a baby sitter, they will repeatedly be late to pick up their child from practices. It’s up to you to inform them that they need to show up at least 10 minutes before the end of practice. That way they can enjoy watching their kids having fun and you are not stuck waiting after everyone else is gone. As a coach you should never be in a situation where you are alone with a child. If you are a male coach and you have a girls team, you should always have an adult of the opposite sex (preferably someone other than your wife) with you during practices and until the last kid has been picked up. The same applies for a reverse situation ( female coach for boys team).

Some players will be late at the games, some will not show up, some will let you know before hand and some won’t. All the time you spent staying up the night before to plan your team line up won’t be too helpful if two minutes before kick off you still have 4-5 players who have not shown up yet. One way to prevent that situation is to bring it up at your initial parent team meeting. Tell the parents they should inform you at least one day in advance if their child will be late or absent on game day.

Remind them during the season if need be.

  • Please remember that players will not be allowed to wear jewelry and or hard hair pins of any kind during the game.
  • Players must wear shin guards in order to play or practice. Shin guards must be worn under the socks.
  • Long fingernails will have to be trimmed prior to entering the game.
  • Referees have been instructed not to let players on the field unless the above requirements are met.
  • Be prepared before game time so your team doesn’t lose playing time by not being prepared.