EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Hey coach! Try being a parent

One of the great things about the summer break from league games is that I can go and watch my own children playing in some of the many tournaments that take place at this time of year.

Off comes the tracksuit and I can go and just be a “normal” parent watching a game. I get a totally different perspective on what is happening. Gone are the pressures that influence a lot of what I do and instead I get to feel what the other parents feel when my son is subbed, or gets moaned at, or plays in a position I don’t think he should. “What? Right back?! He’s too slow to play there!”

It gives me time to watch my children and concentrate on how they have advanced since I last watched them as a parent as opposed to being a coach.

My two boys take the experience of playing under a coach other than myself differently. One enjoys it and gets cheeky with the coaches, but plays really well exploiting the freedom of playing without his dad at the helm.

The other goes into his shell. He hates it when he has to play in teams where I am not the coach. He becomes a sulky child and never plays to his potential, hiding on the pitch and spurning opportunities that come his way. “Why can’t you be the coach? He doesn’t play me in the right position, and no one passes the ball when I play there.”

It helps me to realise how the parents of my players feel when their children are playing (or not). It’s important that I make them and their sons feel they are a vital cog in the team, however accomplished they are at the game.

This is a good reminder that not all players need to be coached in the same way. Some like to joke with you, some need to be spoken to out of the limelight and some need a reassuring chat that they are doing things the right way. The difference in children is highlighted by my own experience with my two boys. I know how they react to situations so it is easy with them. With other children you must get to know more about what makes them tick so you can react to that knowledge and get the best out of them.

Get to know your players better by giving them fun training sessions like the Prison Break session from
Soccer Coach Weekly 

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