Coaching Guidelines

Town of Esopus // PEAA Soccer Coaching Guidelines

What follows is my philosophy on the intent of the youth soccer programs for Esopus Soccer. I apologize to those of you who have heard this speech before...

We coaches form a "fraternity" (or sorority) of coaches. The purpose of our fraternity is to foster a safe, fun, organized, place for kids to learn and enjoy soccer. As a member of the fraternity, it should be just as important to you that kids on the other team have as much fun playing soccer as the kids on your team. For that reason, I ask all of you -- teach the kids to play better soccer, but keep competition in perspective. No eight year old accepts losing very gracefully; let's not make it tougher by embarrassing them. When you're way ahead in the score, take your better players out, or put them on defense. Give a weaker player a chance to play goalie. If a team wins ten goals to zero, the winning team feels great, but you've created a morale problem for the losing coach.

There are no standings kept for this league. There are no records. At the end of the year, no trophies will be awarded. The success of your program will be an individual accomplishment. At the beginning of the year, you'll take kids, many of whom have never played before, many of whom do not know the rules, and you'll impart some skills, some enjoyment and some respect for the game of soccer. And hopefully, you'll have done such a wonderful job, and the player will have had such a good time, he'll want to play again next year ... maybe even for the same coach.

In soccer, the referee is always right. There is only one referee, and there are no appeals to his or her decisions. Unlike baseball, where it's considered normal for the baseball manager to throw his hat at the umpire, the coach is not allowed to dissent in soccer. Furthermore, as coach, you must realize that if you show dissatisfaction with a referee's call, so will your team, and so will the parents of your team. If you disagree with a refs call, be quiet. At the end of the period, or end of the game, take the ref aside and talk over his decision with him. Remember, the refs for our league are high school people who are refereeing as much as a service to Esopus Soccer as for the money. They're not that well paid. So, show respect to the ref, and perhaps when some member of your team is playing for Kingston High School years from now, he'll respect the ref too.

Yelling at the kids is poor form, especially when yelling "immediate commands", such as "turn left, turn right, kick the ball with your left foot', etc... Remember that the poor player with the ball is watching the other players and the ball and listening to the parents -- he's overloaded with things to do. Standing on the sideline yelling at the kid is nerve wracking for the kid, and not productive anyway. Save the real coaching for practice, give some minor reinforcement in between periods, and then sit down, watch the kids play, and enjoy the game.

Compliments of Rich Ferri,
Town of Esopus, PEAA Sponsored Soccer

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