Where does a newbie start?

Discussion in 'Coach' started by TheFallen29, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. TheFallen29

    TheFallen29 New Member

    Nov 25, 2001
    New York City
    Hey, everyone.

    I've been a soccer fan for a while, and I think I'd like to get into coaching. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas/places to go/whatever to get information on tactics, how to run a practice, where you can go to get certified, etc etc etc.

    Anything would be appreciated.
  2. USA4Life

    USA4Life Member

    Feb 10, 2002
    check out these sites: nscaa.com and ussoccer.com
    Both organizations have coaching courses. Some here will tell you that the US coaching schools are a waste of time. I think I learned quite a bit.
    As for formations you can learn a lot by reading the boards. Check any of the pre and post US game threads to get ideas.

    If you are coaching for the first time a 4-3-3 formation is very easy to use with young players.

    This has four backs, three mids, and three forwards.
    The forward line has a wing player on each side and one center forward.

    Hope this helps.
  3. JohnW

    JohnW Member

    Apr 27, 2001
    St. Paul
    Most of the people who criticize the organizations have never attended one of their clinics, but that's another story...

    Fallen, since you are just starting, each state has its own local US soccer organization that offers beginning coaching clinics. I would be surprised if New York didn't have its own web site.

    In Minnesota, we have a Y certification, which is very basic rules and coaching for youth teams.

    Then there is an E and D certification. Here, the difference is really the amount of time in class and what you are expected to do. There is a little more information on tactics, running practices, etc. The idea is that the higher the letter, the more experienced the coach, the more in-depth the information, etc.

    After holding the D license for a year, you can go for the C license, which is offered by US Soccer at various sites around the country--but that's a way down the road.

    The NSCAA has a similarly administered certification program, although I'm not sure if they are quite as "beginner" friendly.

    The positives for attending a clinic or certification is that you can get some of the basics down and interact with other coaches. The usefulness of the different sessions varies--obviously, but I almost always take something away.

    There are a number of web sites that give information on drills. Same with books.

    I'll agree that you can find information on bigsoccer about tactics, strategy, etc. But to be honest, a lot of posting in the men's forums is pretty useless.

    Finally, I suggest checking in on the referee forum. I rarely post there, but some of the discussions will help you with the interpretation of the LOTG.

    Good luck.

  4. TheFallen29

    TheFallen29 New Member

    Nov 25, 2001
    New York City
    Another piece of advice I got was to become an assistant coach with a youth team somewhere, and watch what a coach does. What would you say to that?

    Oh..and just to give you an idea of my background, I do know the basic Laws of the game and such...I've been a fan for a while, and I took a Coaching Soccer class in college (not a great experience, which is why I only start to think about this again two years after graduation).

    Thanks for everything you mentioned, by the way.
  5. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
    "Another piece of advice I got was to become an assistant coach with a youth team somewhere, and watch what a coach does. What would you say to that?'

    Good advice if the coach is good.

    Best advice I can give you is start to play yourself. Learn the skills of the game yourself. Telling a player how to do something is useless. Showing them how to do things is worth a thousand words. You may like the game now, but play and have a good time playing you will love the game.

    First thing you should pass on to the player before anything else is your love of the game. Do that then become a student of the game.

    Watch other coaches in games and in practices.

    Practice is more important then the game. Never miss practice.

    Then join the coaches e-mail list. It was better years ago when more serious coaches were reg posters but it is still good. Put your question about the game to the list. Make sure it is just about coaching issues. It is not just on coaching issues anymore so the reg posters left.

    However, the archives are excellent and easy to use. Put in a key word or two and your there.

    I will post again with sites I think you can use and the coaches list site.


    PS- Respect all your players as people that includes the very little ones. Always remember that you are a role model to them.

  6. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
  7. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
  8. Bleacherbutt

    Bleacherbutt New Member

    May 1, 2001
    Rochester, NY
    Be very selective about what coach you want to serve under. Don't just look for a coach who wins, look for a coach that makes his team improve throughout the season. Also, look for a coach that is willing to be open and share. Ask other coaches who have served as the asst coach for the skinny.

    Other bits and pieces of advice--

    I agree that practice is more important than a game and it needs to be communicated to your players and their families.

    Develop a practice plan that focuses on one topic (maybe two somewhat related topics.) Younger kids respond better to practices that are a consistent length and approximate the same progression of activity. For example:

    Foot skills
    Explain (briefly) what you are going to cover
    Demonstrate the skill/tactic
    Small group drills to reinforce the day's topic
    Larger group drills
    Drills that approximate game situations
    Scrimmage with restrictions
    Open Scrimmage

    Younger kids need to do a drill two or three times before gaining mastery.

    Develop an outline of what you want to cover for the season week-by-week. Don't be afraid to shift activities to emphasize areas that were weak in the previous game.

    Catch players in the act of doing it right. Use that player as an example--it's a real pat on the back and a motivation to be caught doing it right. Be careful not create the "coach's favorite".

    AYSO has published a book on life lessons learned from soccer which does a great job of explaining child development.
    Good luck.
  9. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    - To the extent you can play more yourself, great. It always helps to be able to show kids how to do it, as opposed to merely telling them.

    - Keep practices interesting. Make it fun.
    ----Especially with young kids (but even as you move up), it is extremely important that you move from drill to drill. You have to have some flexibility, but I try not to let more than 10 minutes go by without starting a new drill.

    ----Keep everyone involved. Try to make sure that you are coming up with drills that don't have players standing around for any significant periods of time. The more involved they are, the less opportunity to start daydreaming.

    ----It's not unusual to spend some time working on stationary drills such as passing the ball back and forth between teammates, but try to add something to these drills that sometimes get monotonous. Build passing drills into less stationary exercises. Or even make a competition out of it and ask the kids to keep track of the number of accurate passes in a row.

    I agree about the need for repetition, but you have to accomplish it through different drills (possibly without the kids even realizing that they are working on the same skills). There are many useful drills on the websites previously identified, as well as in several good coaching books.

    As for working as an assistant, I just think it really depends. There are many good coaches out there, and you can always learn from the bad ones as well. It can be a good opportunity to see practice plans and game plans developed. If so, make sure you are keeping your own notes so that you can build on those practice plans in future years.

    Good luck.
  10. JohnW

    JohnW Member

    Apr 27, 2001
    St. Paul
    I post my practice plan so the players can see it before practice begins. (Obviously, this would apply more to older players.)

    BB's second point is really good--especially the better your team is. I have found that it is easier to forget this as you start coaching better players. I think it's because I sometimes take for granted some of the skills--tactical and technical--because the better players do them more naturally.

    At least once a practice, I will find a player doing something well to praise publicly.

    Something else that hasn't been mentioned is watching other successful teams at your team's level--or even one level higher. Watch what the players do, how they react, see if you can figure out what the other coaches are trying to accomplish tactically, etc.

  11. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 New Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    Falls Church, VA
    Good thread guys, been thinking about coaching myself and was wondering how to get started.

    Also, maybe if I learned a few things, my recreation team might win a game ot two ;)

    Thanks for the info.
  12. Elroy

    Elroy New Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    If you are going to be responsible for a team, the first thing to recognize is that coaching and managing are different skills. Coaching is teaching and mostly takes place at practice. Managing is running your program and mostly takes place away from practice - especially if you have a good assistant.

    Managing includes selecting players and determining where and how long they will be on the field. It also includes communication, with players, parents, other coaches, referees, and league officials. This is not an all inclusive list.

    You can really improve your coaching by learning the game. Ritchie has given you great advice on that. Improving management involves examining your philosophy towards developing players and running a program. Make certain that your philosophy is one that you would like to be publically evaluated by.

    One management tip. I always have a parent/player match at least once a year, usually at a team picnic. I do this regardless of the age of my players. The players love it and it shuts the parents up for at least a week. Be careful of aging jock parents, control the intensity of play and you'll have a very successful experience.

    Good luck.
  13. JohnW

    JohnW Member

    Apr 27, 2001
    St. Paul
    This is DEFINITELY good advice.

    A coaching friend arranged this for his U-13 girls' team but asked me if I would step into goal for his girls.

    Two of the Dads were total jackasses. I came out to claim a through ball, and one ran right through the ball and almost cleated me. Later on a similar play, I pulled up because I didn't want to take the guy out--actually I wished he had had the balls to play in my league or that his daughter wasn't standing right there--he scored and you would have thought this was Ronaldo in the World Cup final.

    I think a quick, indiscreet word from the coach to those two fathers would have been appropriate. (Hey, we're out here for fun.)

    That said, it looked like most of the girls and parents enjoyed themselves.

    As far as managing and coaching goes, I generally agree except that I think the coach (or coaching part of you) has to be able to recognize talent (selecting players) and when a player needs to be subbed (how long they will be on the field). The same is true with communicating with refs during a match.

    As an extension of that thought, one of the big differences in coaching soccer, as opposed to basketball or baseball, is that most of the coaching takes place pre-match. That includes preparation and tactics/game plan.

    And because of the continuous 45 minutes and limited subbing (either by FIFA rule at international level or by all intents and purposes by fall off of talent), there is that greater premium on the coaching at practice.

  14. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
    "At least once a practice, I will find a player doing something well to praise publicly."

    More good advice. I love good play and I praise good play in practice and in games even if an opponent does it.

    I love the game and good play I also find it contagious to my players. I like when players prasie the play of other players in games.

    When I don't like what a player is doing. I say nothing out loud. I don't want to embarass a player in front of the team. That doesn't mean I don't let him know about it. I find a way to tell him in the cource of the game.

    Just remember what age group your dealing with.

    My best advice to new coaches. Never hurt a player to win a game.

  15. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    This reminded me of another important point, which may even be deserving of a separate thread of its own:

    At least balance, if not suppress, the desire to win with an emphasis on developing players skills and tactics.

    Obviously, the emphasis will change depending on the age of the players, and the type of league you are dealing with, but think longterm in your development of players.

    As an example, I was working as a parttime assistant with some 10 and 11 year boys a year ago, and they were doing some warm-up shooting before a game. The coach was rolling the ball and each player got to run up and kick it. Without even locking his ankle, the player scooped underneath the ball and it floated with no power and lots of backspin over the outstretched arms of the short goalie. The coach and two parents cheered, "Great shot. Great shot." Of course, it reaally wasn't (and as best I could tell it was completely accidental), and I said so to the head coach and one of the parents. They looked at me with dismay. "What are you talking about? That shot was unstoppable." I explained that they were right about it being unstoppable (and that there would be a time for the kids to incorporate that kind of chip shot in their repertoire), but the kids should first be learning how to drive a shot with the instep. Save the chip shot for later, learn to drive the ball. From a standpoint fo skill development, I'd rather see this kid skimming a hard hit ball along the ground, even if the goalie now occasionally has a chance to get to it.

    As another example, think about your defensive players. The safest thing is always to boot the ball upfield as far as they can. However, at some point, you have to start teaching them to try to have some ball control and to work the ball up field. This will, of course, involve some strategic risk. And will undoubdtedly result in some errors, and even the occasional goal against you. But once they start to understand when it is smart to take such risks and when it is not, rather than just operating on auto-pilot and kicking the ball as far they can even if it goes to the other team, they will be taking gigantic steps as soccer players.

    Of course, this is just my own personal philosophy, albeit one that has served me pretty well as both a player and a coach (and hasn't, in my opinion, hurt the competitiveness of my teams in the longrun). I'm curious to hear what others have to say about this.
    nicklaino repped this.
  16. DragonFly

    DragonFly New Member

    Dec 31, 1999
    pre-crash, FlashMan had a similar thread re: starting coaching.

    In that thread, someone posted a list of books
    and resources that seemed appropriate. Anybody
    know who posted that (and could they re-post that again).

    And I think Wanderer was getting in a video
    tape (?coerver?) that he'd report back on.
    How is it?

    many thanks.
  17. Turk from Pigs Eye

    Turk from Pigs Eye New Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    Pigs Eye (St. Paul),
    One place where you can look for books is at Amazon.com. I think there is a category exclusively for books about coaching soccer. There are many good ones as well as bad. To save money, get the titles and borrow them from the library. If you like a library book you can always buy it later.

    Coaching is age and sex specific, so have a long-term plan. Younger players need to work more with the ball at their feet. Older ones, starting at about the JV level, will need to start working on conditioning more and more advanced skills. Do you have children of your own? When do you want to have them? Those are factors.
  18. JohnW

    JohnW Member

    Apr 27, 2001
    St. Paul
    Excellent post. I think you're spot on.

  19. BTFOOM

    BTFOOM Member+

    Apr 5, 2004
    MD, USA
    FC Bayern München
    First off, great for you. Coaches are needed everywhere and I think it's great that you decided to volunteer your time.

    Before I can give you advice, I need a little more info.

    What age/gender are you thinking of coaching? Training U-6 co-ed players is very different than U-17 Boys.

    What type of soccer/sport experience do you have?

    What are your goals for coaching (winning, developing players, etc)?

    In general, the first thing you should do is contact your local soccer association. Find out if where they need help (or let them know where you would like to coach). Take a NSCAA or USSF introductory class - they really do help. If possible, go out to a couple of training sessions for the age/gender you think you want to coach. Introduce yourself to the coach/trainer and ask if you can watch. From my experience, most coaches are more than happy to give pointers to new coaches.

    Let me know and I can give more detailed advice (if you want it).
  20. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Mar 17, 2004
    Congratulations. You just answered a post that is over 10 years old. That might be a Big Soccer record.
    Markov41 repped this.
  21. J'can

    J'can Member+

    Jul 3, 2007
    Manchester United FC
    I think I will extend this thread just so I don't start another one. Please note that this is not a duplication of the opening post (which as was noted is over 10 years old). So here is the story. Long time fan looking to get into coaching. Always wanted to but now my son is 4 and the club we are getting into just issued an appeal to get more volunteers. Volunteering I like but I am taking it a bit more seriously than just the average parent looking to help out his kid's team. Ideally I would like to get to a level where I could coach high school and even maybe college if the opportunity presents itself. I love the game have lots of passion for it and fully realize that the ideal scenario may not materialize but as long as I can have some meaningul involvement with the game I am good.

    So question 1: Would you recommend I coach my son's team? He can get a bit of a handful and I am inclined to think if they find someone to coach his team I would take on another team. What has been your experience?

    Question 2: Is starting out at age 30 too late for what I stated above (okay I lied, 34!)? Given that I don't have a coaching licence yet and this is my first involvement at an organized level. Also the club that I am looking to get my son in and that I plan to dedicate my time to does pay for licences (within reason) so there will be opporuntities to get certification (failing that I would pay myself).

    Not only am I looking to be a aprt of my kids journey here but also looking to take my love of the game on a new course.

    I will hit up the forum for more advice (tactics, formation, player development etc) but those are my questions for now. Besides there is a lot of useful stuff here already.
  22. VegasFootie

    VegasFootie Member

    Jun 8, 2012
    Arsenal FC
    J'can- Absolutely start volunteering now. All journeys start with the first small steps- yours to coaching as much as your son's to playing. Put in the work to make yourself a good coach. Coaching your son's u5 should allow you plenty of time to assist at an older level. The lessons you'll be taught will translate down way better than only keeping up with where you're currently at and trying to move forward.
    Unmentioned in your post is your personal soccer playing level, you simply described yourself as a fan. You'll need personal ball skills and game understanding to operate at any level as a coach. This will require a commitment to professional development. I'd love to say that a non-player could eventually reach their dream of coaching at any level, but I don't believe it. In my area you MUST be a teacher to coach HS and you'll be expected to have a relevant degree and some kind of impressive soccer resume to coach at a college level. As has been chewed over in the coaching forum recently, the USSF licenses are weighted to ex-players of college level. Even the E would absolutely destroy a non-player. So start playing now. Again or for the first time, just DO IT!
    Finally, I'll add that American soccer needs good u-little coaches WAAAAAAY! more than we need more HS and college coaches. Dedicate yourself to training the kids skills, providing a good foundation for the kids to move forward with, and making sure the experience has them coming back. You'll do more for soccer as a good u8 rec coach providing a few kids a great experience every season.
    J'can repped this.
  23. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Mar 17, 2004
    word of advice for coaching your child's team of 4 yo's. Even though you are a 'serious fan', you need to be more preschool teacher than serious soccer player.

    As our director of coaching tells the new coaches, You are there during their playtime. You play games that trick them into learning soccer.
    J'can repped this.
  24. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    34 is not a late start. Most professional coaches start coaching in their late 20's or early 30's (because they are players before they turn to coaching).
    I suggest that you download the USYSA player development model and start reading:
    Note that it doesn't have an age group category for U4 (because it is not considered soccer training--it's kids playing with a ball). It has a lot of information and may raise more questions for you than answers, but it is a good place to start.

    Next I would read general coaching material about athletic development coaching, sometimes called strength and conditioning coaching. Look specifically for material about training youth. You teach general althletic skills before soccer specific skills. So any former athlete has experience that will help his coaching any youth sport at ages 6 to 8.
    J'can repped this.
  25. J'can

    J'can Member+

    Jul 3, 2007
    Manchester United FC
    I played the game up to my mid to late 20s. Played organized at a rudimentary level when I was much younger. Definitely not one of those dads that can't control or head a ball :)

    Thank for all the advice. I will get moving on some prep work. And the bit about realizing that this IS the kids playtime was priceless advice.

    Thanks all and I will keep you posted. any thing you can think of in addition please post.

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