Negative coaching issue

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by 24x8, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. 24x8

    24x8 New Member

    Apr 22, 2007
    U12 boys competitive: Perhaps I am just venting, so thanks for letting me do that. The head coach appears to have lapsed into a pattern. He will not give a compliment to any of the players. All he does is yell at them or criticize them if they make a tactical mistake in games or at practice. Of course, my kid plays on his team. The last time he gave him a compliment, after try-outs or course, was one time last summer during a tournament. “That was a good play.” And he is the type of player who plays up on the state ODP team and regularly receives compliments on his play from the club DOC and ADOCs. More than once, the referee has come up to him after a game to compliment a play he made.
    This lack of positive comments applies to all the kids. There is a midfielder on the team who not only makes absolutely unbelievable plays, but plays with 100 percent effort at all times. I don’t recall that boy ever receiving a compliment in 2 years. Not even “that was a nice touch.” His dad says the negativity is weighing on the player.
    Do you think there is any good way to drop a hint that a little positive coaching might be a good thing once in a while? Or do we just ride out the spring season and look for a better situation next year? FYI, I have a bench pass and am there all the time, so I haven’t missed anything.
  2. Kevin8833

    Kevin8833 Member

    Jun 18, 2007
    Estero, FL
    Try to sit him down and approach him nicely and if that doesn't work all you can do is wait it out and then look for a better situation the following season, it would probably be more effective if you had parents along with you.
  3. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack Member+

    Apr 10, 2002
    California - Bay Area
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We had a similar problem at U11/U12 competitive. I spoke twice to the coach (once in front of the parents and once directly). While he was negative to the extend stated above during training (in fact he did a good job with the training), he was terrible during games. We ended up moving my son from the team to another team at the end of the season.

    Another option is to begin looking for another coach. In my ten years of coaching and coach instruction, I have found very few reformed negative coaches...
  4. Negative coaches just won't work for kids. You can't scare them into playing better, they just get nervous. No good coach in any sport is negative all of the time, not even Bobby Knight.
  5. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Arsenal FC
    Somebody who's never said a nice thing about anybody for the past two years? I think you'd be wasting your time trying to talk to him. I'd look for a new coach.
  6. SoccerFanatic2006

    SoccerFanatic2006 New Member

    Feb 13, 2008
    Talk to your kid. Take an objective look at the past two years. Think about the last year or last 6 months in particular. Notice anything? Kid doing something differently on the field? Have they changed the way that they play? What you may notice is that their confidence level has diminished somewhat when they play for this coach. It may not show up when they play for other coaches, but it may when they play for this coach. Talk honestly to your kid and find out what they want to do about the situation. We were recently on a team where my son gave us the "thumbs down" at try-outs but we gave the kid a "thumbs up". We should have listened to our son! It was the worst season of our lives! He knew it would be at the first practice. Live and learn...

    Best of luck to you....
  7. loghyr

    loghyr ex-CFB

    Jul 11, 2006
    How do you know it is all negative?

    My son's coach apprears to be negative. When you hear him yell, it is mainly about something wrong.

    What I found out while helping him one game was that he did say positive things to the kids as they came off the field. But a parent sitting across the field would not have heard that or even seen the coach's lips move.

    And the kids might just focus on the negative over time. I'm not sure if I were to ask my son right now if his coach ever said something positive to him if he would answer yes.

    And I'm not sure some of the parents would answer yes as well. Even though I know I've heard him say positive things about the progress of the team over the last month.

    Having said all that, I agree that if the coach is not right for you and/or your son, look to move on.
  8. 24x8

    24x8 New Member

    Apr 22, 2007
    You make a good point. But as I mention, being a volunteer, I am on the sidelines with the team at practice and games all the time. So, I see and hear everything. (You are right, I need to get a life.)
    I should have mentioned in my original post, that it isn’t as if this head coach doesn’t care about the boys. Perhaps he cares too much. He go into his own pocket to make sure the boys have a good time on road games and tries to make sure they have the best soccer environment possible. Unfortunately, he has fallen into this pattern of never giving positive feedback to any of the boys.
    SoccerFanatic, thanks for sharing your opinion. I will keep in mind what your son and you have learned.
  9. soccerhomer

    soccerhomer Member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Personally I don't think kids thrive when the coach is always negative. But I believe that a good coach needs to find what motivates each player and apply that. For some that may mean negative comments and for other positive. As the players get older, they know if someone is just saying something positive to be nice. Whats hard as a parent is to sit back and let things play out. Since we are on the second son playing now, its much easier.......Talk with your son, If hes unhappy then maybe a change is in order. The kids work very hard at the upper levels and if they are not enjoying playing then somethings wrong. But we as parents have to be careful, meddling just for the sake of having control might not be the best thing. Its a fine line for us to straddle. Talk and support and good things will happen.
  10. Smashfoot

    Smashfoot New Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    I would move on ASAP.
  11. E.F.C

    E.F.C New Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    there is nothing you can do to change his ways,so i would leave..
  12. dorset

    dorset New Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    Santa Cruz
    ACF Fiorentina
    Nat'l Team:
    Does your club have parent evaluations of coaches at the end of the year? That is the time to complain. I doubt the coach will listen to you on your own, but he might listen to the Director or President of the club.

    You could also introduce the club to the Positive Coaching Alliance at Stanford. But again, old habits die hard and old coaches are not likely to change their ways.

    We have been there - in the end, we had to find another club.
  13. Tmoto

    Tmoto New Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    I have two thoughts on this. First and foremost, if you have confidence in your knowledge, I would openly and enthusiastically encourage and compliment the players -- "Great challenge/tackle... Great step... Awesome anticipation and superb ball played (weight/direction)... Good communication and way to stay connnected... Way to have confidence to take that player on..." You could finish some of these comments with.. Coach, did you see that??? Wasn't that cool? If he agrees, then prod him to tell the player.. Even though the coach isn't complimenting, someone has to lead this effort and it becomes infectious.

    Secondly, you obviously like and care about the game and players. I would approach the coach myself -- not after a game and try to find a time when emotions are low key. Since you mentioned that the coach cares, I would commend him on this aspect and that perhaps he cares too much.... Based upon your observations and what you've written, there's a reasonable chance he has no idea how negative he's been... You might get some idea as to how he feels if you ask him if all players should be treated the same (motivation and development).. If he says, "Yes, they have to prodded and pushed..." you're probably not going to get anywhere. However, if he says, "No, different players react differently so it's important to try to personalize the approach.." well then, now you have something to really work with..

    Good luck.. Obviously, not a great situation but at least you're trying to solve the problem proactively.

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