For many soccer coaches, the leadership process isn’t exactly voluntary. The process of finding or selecting a soccer coach is changing rapidly as the game becomes more popular, but many coaches are simply drafted into the job because there’s no one else even remotely qualified to do it.
Many of these folks do have a background in coaching of some sort, however. That background may include things like US football, basketball and baseball, with the assumption that coaching is coaching and it’s easy to adapt it to a new sport, especially at the youth level.
This kind of “Ted Lasso” approach to finding a soccer coach often puts the new head honcho in a precarious position of having to learn on the fly. There is a path forward to do soccer coaching well, but there are some things you have to know, so let’s get into a few of the important ones.
Step One: Learn ALL the Rules
This first step might be fairly basic, but it’s surprising how often it gets overlooked. The assumption behind it is that at the youth level the more arcane rules likely won’t come into play, so you can safely ignore them.
Wrong. One of the rules of doing anything well is to make sure you know all the fundamentals that are involved, and with soccer the obscure rules are part of that.
Moreover, they can make you look pretty impressive at times. There absolutely will be a game situation where your knowledge of some rule that nobody’s ever heard of will help your team get a goal or win a game, and isn’t it worth the extra work just to make sure you can deliver the goods when that happens?
Step Two: Learn the Drills
Like nearly all aerobic sports, soccer is a game of conditioning and muscle memory. That means repetition drills for dribbling, passing, shooting and defending, and the more you have your team do them the smarter you’ll look as a coach.
Fortunately there are plenty of sources. Go to any good coaching site and you’ll find enough simple drills to last a lifetime, especially if you’re coaching at the youth level. You may even want to design them to your situation, which will make you look even smarter.
Step Three: Learn the Strategies
This one’s trickier. Strategy can be a four-letter word at the youth sports level, mostly because it can be confusing and frustrating if the skills training isn’t up to snuff, so tread lightly when you implement different approaches.
One way to learn fast on the fly is to access a great coaching site like Cupello. Check out the site at https://www.cupello.com/, and you may come away with more than you need to know about soccer coaching and then some.