Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
10 tips for the well-organized coach: presentation matters
by Don Norton, March 5th, 2013 5:13PM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ
TAGS:  youth boys, youth girls

MOST COMMENTED

By Don Norton Jr.

One area of coaching that is occasionally overlooked is how we present ourselves to our players at training. I do believe in the old adage that you "never get a second chance to make a first impression." By present ourselves, I am referring to how we look, the words we use when speaking, and the overall preparation that went into our session. The coaching schools in the United States and across the world stress to their candidates the importance of being prepared for every session and never “winging it.”

Here are my 10 Rules for every training session:

1. Arrive 20-25 minutes before every session, well groomed and wearing appropriate soccer gear. I have always told my players that if they arrive on time, they are late. They know that means they need to get to training before it is scheduled. (I do realize young players don’t drive themselves ...) When I blow my whistle all my players have water, their socks are pulled up, shinguards on and their shirt is tucked in. They are ready to train.

2. Check the field to make sure that it is safe to train upon. I always walk around and check all areas of the field and make sure that the goals are properly secured and that there are no holes in the nets. The environment that my players train in must be safe.

3. Carefully empty the ball bag, bibs and lay out all my cones for that day’s session. I never waste time putting cones down during training. Having cones laid out makes for a smooth transition from one activity to another, saves valuable time, and shows my commitment to the session. We all ask a lot from our players and we must give back just as much. Being prepared for every session is a given. And yes from time to time I will stop play and quickly “adjust” the distance of the cones that I laid out.

4. I welcome every player with a smile and a handshake. I am a role model. The words I choose when speaking are important. I know that my player’s experience in training and in the games can have a lasting impact on them.

5. Start every session on time. I bring all my players together and they know that “if I can’t see your face, you are in the wrong place.” I take the sun and position my players so that there no distractions. I give a very brief age-appropriate talk about the day’s activities and off we go. “No lines, no lectures and no laps.” In every session we play small-sided games. I try to have a relaxed tone to my sessions, meaning players are never afraid to make mistakes and are encouraged to “try moves.” Training is where mistakes are made, confidence is born and a love for the game blooms.

6. Have my training session written down on a notecard that I carry with me. Coaches of all levels across the world carry them. If I need to refer to it, and I often do, it’s there for me.

7. Deliver coaching points to my players using the PIP method. Positive -- “I loved your run down the flank." Information -- “Don’t forget to lock your ankle and get your hips square when shooting.” Positive – “Keep up the good work.” I try to never “over coach,” meaning I don’t stop play often and strive to always have a theme and flow to training. I am always reminded of Alex Ferguson’s quote that “talking too much is a big danger for a coach. The words get lost in the wind.”

8. Have our assistant coach lead parts of every training session. I value “my colleagues” knowledge and want him to know that I respect his talents. Former Scottish national team head coach Craig Brown spoke at my SFA course and said “I never referred to our assistants as my assistants, but as my colleagues as a sign of respect.” There is no better way to show him (and the players) your confidence in his abilities than to have your colleague lead parts of training. No egos allowed; it’s not about me, but always the team. The beauty of the game is that every coach brings his own style and unique perspectives to training and games. I believe that a player needs to hear different voices throughout his soccer career.

9. Bring all players together at the end of training and very briefly summarize a few points about the session and make some “house-keeping” points if needed. I always want to leave my players on a positive note. Coming to training and playing the world’s greatest game should always be something that all players relish. I am the last person to leave the field.

10. Evaluate the session in my Log Book later that day. I grade myself regarding what went well during the session, were my objectives achieved and what could I have done better. We all learn from our mistakes and every coach has had training sessions that they wish they could do over. Even though we have a plan for our training being flexible is important. Sometimes our players lead training in a different direction that is to be expected. I begin to prepare for the next training session.

(Don Norton Jr. is the men’s assistant coach at Rowan University. He has the USSF “A” license, FA Ireland “A” license (UEFA “A” License), Scottish FA “A” Certificate, NSCAA Premier Diploma and USSF National Youth License. He is a NSCAA associate national staff coach and a USSF state coaching school instructor for the New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Associations. His writings have been published in various soccer magazines. He has a BA from Gettysburg College and a MA from Rowan University.)



1 comment
  1. Mike Maurer
    commented on: March 10, 2013 at 11:34 p.m.
    Excellent guideline to coach by.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
USA already behind the eight-ball in U-20 World Cup qualifying    
The USA's quest to qualify for the 2017 U-20 World Cup is in danger just one ...
Tab Ramos on keeper Jonathan Klinsmann, captain Erik Palmer-Brown and the U-20 World Cup qualifying quest    
Tab Ramos, who played for the USA in the 1983 U-20 World Cup, now aims to ...
Girls DA Director Miriam Hickey: Federation is best suited to support clubs and coaches    
Miriam Hickey has been named Director of the U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy, that which off ...
Anson Dorrance on Girls DA vs. ECNL -- and why the focus should be on the youngest ages    
We asked Anson Dorrance for his views on the strife between U.S. Soccer and the ECNL, ...
James Bunce: 'Players all develop at different times'    
When James Bunce headed Southampton FC's youth program, its ranks included Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, now an Arsenal ...
Meet Tab Ramos' 20 players for U-20 World Cup qualifying    
The USA's quest to qualify for a third straight U-20 World Cup begins Feb. 18 against ...
Ankle Sprain: When can I play again?     
There's never a good time to be injured. As we come up to the end of ...
Boys Development Academy adds 165 new teams    
The Boys U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA) will enter the 2017-18 season with 17 new clubs ...
U-17 stars leave residency for MLS; Four newcomers head to Bradenton    
By the time Christian Pulisic played for the USA at the 2015 U-17 World Cup, he ...
Jozy Altidore still having lots of 'serious fun'     
Jozy Altidore made his 100th appearance for the USA last Sunday, becoming, at age 27, the ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives