Commentary

The DOC's 3 most important duties

By Charlie Slagle

A Director of Coaching at a club needs to possess many talents. The DOC must be a good listener and also hard of hearing at some times. He or she must be determined to stay the course and, also, make changes for the betterment of the organization.

DOCs need to be able to tell it like it is and, also, be tactful. They must be nurturing and demanding. The Director needs to understand what the coach is going through and, also, what the player and the family of the player are going through.

In looking at the paragraph above, it is easy to see that a Director of Coaching needs to be able to read situations and act accordingly. Also, DOCs need experience in the trenches of the youth soccer landscape and need to stay current by watching the paid and volunteer coaches under their auspices ply their trade. It is a difficult and sometimes a thankless job but can be extremely rewarding as well.

That being said, there are three areas of a Director of Coaching’s duties that will be highlighted:

* Overseeing the activities of all coaches, be they staff, day coaches or volunteers.

* Establishing and maintaining a curriculum for the club.

* Being a liaison to a diverse group of entities.

DOCs need to deal with all areas concerning the coaching staff. The hiring of paid coaches, the training of all the coaches under the club’s umbrella and monitoring these coaches at practices and games all fall under the duties of the Director of Coaching.

Depending on the size of the club, the DOC will have to delegate to others some of the training and the monitoring of coaches. It is sometimes difficult to find a DOC who can and wants to step back and be in charge. Since most if not all DOCs consider themselves coaches first, and usually have a high sense of their ability, it is tough for that individual to let others coach and not coach as much as he/she has in the past. DOCs can coach but their coaching cannot be at the expense of the club as a whole.

The DOC should be the youth soccer expert on the staff. The knowledge that the Director possesses of the game needs to guide the club in curriculum development and placement of the club’s teams in leagues that provide the best opportunity for player development.

The placement of the club’s teams, must, also, be tempered by the costs associated with the league(s) where the teams compete. The club should be looking for the proper competition level at the best price point for that level. The curriculum should be all encompassing from the youngest age bracket to the oldest with a well-thought out flow. Once the curriculum is determined, it must be adhered to by all levels of the club.

Lastly, the DOC must be the liaison for the soccer part of the club. The Director becomes the last stopping point in disagreements or difficulties with players and families of players. She or he is the liaison with the business part of the organization, knowing what is possible financially for the club and making sound presentations about any new soccer project(s) or change in direction of the curriculum.

The DOC also is the liaison with other clubs, member organizations and with college coaches.

The Director of Coaching job is a diverse one that requires leadership, knowledge, relationship development and decision-making. A great Director can make a club thrive and a poor Director can do the exact opposite. It requires a dedicated individual whose entire focus is on the improvement of the club.

(Charlie Slagle, who served as CEO of North Carolina’s Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) for more than 12 years, is the owner of Charlie Slagle Sport Consulting LLC, specializing in working with soccer clubs to help them reach their potential -- with emphasis on working with clubs' professional staff and board of directors. Slagle, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Vice President of Education, was Davidson College head men's coach in 1980-2000 and tournament organizer of 14 NCAA Division I College Cups.)

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