ULTIMATE Soccer Dictionary Of American Terms is Coming to Amazon Soon!!

The Soccer Stories (UPDATED Monthly!)

 

SOCCER COACHING STORIES

From CoachingAmericanSoccer.com®

Send us your story!  Click Here:   Call for Soccer Stories

(NOTE:  Some of the stories below have follow-on stories or “responses.”  Please read earlier stories for context.

Just saw the story about the failed PK decision.  Coaches are human.  We make mistakes.  In my long experience, I have two things to offer.  One, it doesn’t hurt to admit to players that you will sometimes mess up.  They’ll usually respect you more for it.  Two, when you make mistakes, apply the lessons and move on.  Dwelling on a bad decision will just needlessly continue to tear you up inside.  (10/16/2017)

I made a bad decision in a game because I applied a “coaching axiom” promoted by the USSF in their national courses years ago regarding “freshmen on the team.”  The axiom says not to put new players into pressure situations too soon, maybe gently inserting them into an away game where the outcome has already been decided.  So, with this playing in the back of my head, I didn’t select a first-year player to take a penalty kick that would have tied a home game in the last minute.  The player I did select missed and I have regretted this decision ever since.  Whereas some axioms may have merit, the real lesson here was to go with your gut.  (09/11/2017)

I’m not so happy about dogs or more particularly some dog owners.  I had to deal with a player who had the great misfortune of performing a slide tackle right through a big pile of recent dog [poo].  Some person who shouldn’t even have a dog let theirs crap on an active soccer field without having the courtesy or decency to pick it up.  So coaches and parents, you have yet another thing to look for in your pre-game field inspection.  Remember to bring a plastic bag along with everything else.  (08/02/2017)

Back again, briefly, to friendly, ball-chasing dogs:  We had a big guy get loose at practice and successfully grab a fully-inflated Size 5 ball in his mouth, albeit by catching two seams with his canines.  When we were able to get him to let go, he had punctured the ball and seemed to be quite fascinated by the hissing sound it made when it came out.  A bit expensive, but a funny adventure on the soccer field.  (07/12/2017)

When I was a college coach, I had a schedule one season that had a significant gap between two games.  Since the competition had been very exhausting up to the point of the gap, I decided to give the players two full days off from practice for rest and recovery.  I didn’t provide them with any “guidance” for this break.  When we reconvened, much to my shock, one of my players appeared in a cast and using crutches.  He told me that he had played in a pick-up basketball game, went up for a rebound, came down on another player’s foot, and severely sprained his ankle.  Now whenever my teams have a break, I tell this cautionary tale and instruct my players (among other things) to not play any sports at all.  (06/08/2017)

I’ve been around long enough that I have seen too many coaches criticize their players for “something they should have known” [to do or not to do].  This is as counter-productive as it gets.  Coaches, if you haven’t taught something, then own it.  The players will immediately recognize how inherently unfair criticism like this is and you will lose respect for it.  Suck it up, teach what you should have taught to have avoided the mistake and then move on.  It’s one of the dilemmas of coaching that there is never enough time to do everything, or to think of everything that can go wrong, but you must not take it out on the players.  (05/02/2017)

Thank you for your article on Contingency Planning.  This past fall I had a serious flat tire on the way to practice.   I was able to contact one of my parents who easily took over the session.  Because of our prior planning we never missed a beat.  (04/02/2017)

Things get interesting when players get their drivers licenses and jobs.  I had one player in particular who didn’t discuss his job schedule with me and was significantly late to a common meeting point for a two-hour trip to an away tournament.  We arrived late with a couple of starters and lost the opening game and the tournament, that we could easily have won if we had been on time.  In fairness to the player, his job and its income was very important.  In fairness to his teammates, he should have told me that he could not properly make the departure time.  Coaches need to discuss safe driving and the impact of job commitments with their players at age 15 and above.  (03/05/2017)

I had a player called for a foul and yellow-carded that was excessive by the referee, if not totally incorrect and undeserved.  My player just lost it and went off.  He was yelling and heading for the referee when one of his teammates ran up to him and kissed him on the cheek.  This so startled my player that his focus was instantly redirected and he stopped in his tracks.  The remarkable, quick-thinking action by his teammate saved both the player from an ejection and the team from having to play short.  It points out that coaches and the team need to discuss how to immediately quiet and de-escalate situations like this.  (02/06/2017)

Commenting on the prior stories, I have been associated with a lot of soccer organizations for a long period of time.  I’d like to warn that those people saying “That’s the way we’ve always done it” may be more than just closed-minded and regressive about the advances of soccer.  They may be threatened because they have something to hide.  Any organization that works with money has to be concerned about the long-serving “trusted” individual who has access to funds and no oversight.  In business this is a lack of “managerial controls.”  There must be detailed financial accounting and reporting regularly presented to a supervisor and to the organization as a whole.  In addition, there needs to be annual audits that can confirm and reproduce the reporting.  (01/11/2017)

The previous writer hit the nail on the head continuing to discuss the money.  In one Association for which I was a volunteer coach, I finally got a chance to see a budget.  That’s when I found out that the large amount being charged each family per child in their “clinic” (instructional) program was more than twice the amount needed to cover costs.  The dramatic overage was being used to subsidize their travel programs!  (12/05/2016)

Boy, did the previous story open up a can of worms.  It’s no wonder that Associations and Clubs can’t get enough volunteers or that the drop-out rate for volunteers is so high when the word gets out.  The Associations and Clubs are their own worst enemy.  Instead of supporting their volunteers, they always side with the disruptive parent (who feels “entitled”), however unreasonable and irresponsible they may be, because that’s where the MONEY comes from!  Volunteer coaches, do not assume that you will be supported; get all soccer instruction/objectives and administrative guidance – in writing – before you start.  Otherwise, entrenched “directors” assume you know all about the “history” of the Club and then they make up rules as they go!  (11/02/2016)

I had to write because there doesn’t seem to be any other forum around to get something off my chest.  I am a volunteer coach in what is perceived to be a well-respected program.  Unfortunately, I very recently endured abuse from a parent who made up a bunch of fiction about me and how he perceived that I ran the team.  This individual also constantly berates their own child.  It appears that he falls into the category of believing that because he pays a fee (“…all this money”… -direct quote) for his child to participate that he has the right to make irrational and unsubstantiated claims about anything he wants.  Fortunately, he is the only bad apple.  The other parents understand that the Association sets the fees and the volunteer does the best he can.  I spoke with a friend of mine who said it just comes with the territory and that you always have to remember that the kids come first and to have a thick skin.  The fact of the matter is that I do this for the children and to give back to the game, but that I certainly don’t have to be subjected to this.  Why do some people behave this way?  They ruin everything.  These must be the same people who don’t volunteer for anything, think that they can buy their way around, and live to criticize.  The Association had to turn kids away this season, expand team team size beyond a reasonable limit, and couldn’t field an even number of teams because there weren’t enough volunteer coaches.  It doesn’t surprise me; if anyone who has volunteered in the past had to deal with people like this, I can understand why they wouldn’t volunteer again.  I won’t.  (10/16/2016)

I had a somewhat similar experience with the USSF national coaching school and licensing program.  Given the expense involved, both in terms of time and money, you would think their approach would be more oriented toward getting as much information to as many people as possible.  Instead it appears that one of their primary objectives is to maintain exclusivity and to ensure that only a certain type of people are allowed to “join the club.”  I’m checking out the NSCAA.  (09/04/2016)

I was very fortunate to be able to attend one of the USSF’s national coaching schools.  The information presented is fantastic.  I did not get my license, however, because I ran afoul of two very significant unspoken rules.  First, I apparently “insulted” a presenter by needing to leave what I thought was a voluntary review session before the exams.  I was literally surrounded in an empty hallway by three members of the coaching staff who confronted me about my “actions.”  Second, I was told that I failed one of the portions of the tests for not using an acceptable tactical approach in a response.  So, coaches, if you are able to attend one of the national coaching schools, remember to remain “politically correct” and to not be a “free thinker.”  Behave the way they want you to behave, go along with the crowd, and spew back the training exactly the way it is presented.   (08/03/2016)

I once coached a U-19 team with a player whose parents never attended any of his matches.  After a couple of seasons the player asked me if I would call his parents and talk to them about it.  I did so only to find that they said they were concerned that their attendance would “make him nervous.”  I assured them that would not be the case.  They came to the next game and every game thereafter.  Their son’s motivation soared and he played significantly better from then on.  Parents, coaches, and players need to communicate and never take anything for granted.  These parents wound up loving to come to their son’s games, but they had missed so many other opportunities due to a lack of discussion.  (07/02/2016)

A number of years ago I volunteered to be a substitute (back-up) coach for a local instructional soccer program.  The program was large and I was called-in on every Saturday.  Sadly, I was also over-weight and out of shape.  At one session, a parent yelled at me, “Hey coach, at least show a little enthusiasm.”  She was right but it really hurt.  I finished out the season and then I didn’t return to coaching for ten years, until after I had retired, lost the weight, and regained my skills.  Enthusiasm counts, motivation counts, and fitness counts, but the unfortunately-yelled comment had the opposite effect from what was intended:  taking away a volunteer coach for a decade.  (06/02/16)

In your article, “Become a Student of the Game,” you talked about possibly finding a willing “mentor.”  This is an excellent concept, but I wish to suggest a degree of caution.  When I was a player in college, my coach brought in a “consultant” for a week.  The coach thought that this guy was just the “be-all-end-all” of soccer smarts.  Indeed, compared to the coach, maybe he was.  This consultant had a good reputation.  Unfortunately, it also included being of foreign extraction and thinking that he was god’s gift to American soccer.  My coach bought into it all and implemented countless suggestions without any thought whatsoever to their impact.  They blew away the team chemistry and discounted the foundation laid by all of the hard work of many players.  It’s one thing to latch on to a consultant, but it is quite another to apply your own intelligence toward what to use and how to use it.  (05/06/2016)

I ran into a bizarre situation a few years back during a youth recreational game.  The opposing coach was teaching his kids to take goal kicks as fast as they could in order to “catch” our players before they could get out of the Penalty Area.  At one point I even heard him yell at the referee to “call the penalty.”  After the game I asked the referee what he thought about all this.  He responded that it was a most unfortunate scenario where a.) it was yet another case of a coach who didn’t understand the rules and their application; b.) the referees were instructed not to try to teach the rules to coaches (“a no-win”); c.) stopping the game to try to do so would just have taken play time away from the kids; and, d.) if the ball had ever struck one of my players who wasn’t given enough time to get out of the Area, the kick would have just been retaken anyway (it never did).  The referee further volunteered that this coach stated during the game that he “had to teach the referees the rules.”  It’s one thing for coaches not to know the rules, but to make things up and teach them incorrectly is irresponsible.  Leagues need to assess coaches the way referee organizations do.  (04/05/2016)

As a college coach, while I had a “comfortable” lead in one game, 2-0, early in the second half, our opponent continued to make penetrating runs and I was greatly concerned because I thought we should be beating this team handily. Although we finally got a third goal with ten minutes remaining, I expressed my disappointment to the team in our post-game analysis. Frankly, I felt that we should have beaten this “inferior” opponent by at least 5-0. I carefully explained about not letting an opponent stay in the game, never letting up until the final whistle, and living up to our potential. I don’t know that I made any converts. My players thought I had gone off into the deep end and basically responded with, “we won,” and maybe I should “move on.”  (03/05/2016)

I was once on the receiving end of an interesting application of gamesmanship.  As a college coach, I had my team successfully playing a possession-style, ball-control, game with a lot of short passing on the ground.  I assume we were scouted well by this one opponent because, when we played them, their coach had intentionally let the grass grow high and did not have it cut to a normal height.  Throughout the match, the pace on our passes was consistently slowed and eventually my players became fatigued.  We wound up losing 1 – 0.  This was definitely not a contingency for which I had planned and I failed to recognize what was happening until it was too late.  (02/08/2016)

After we went up on an opponent 7 – 0, I asked my team to play possession and to stop scoring.  Unfortunately, one of my players didn’t understand the concept and proceeded to dribble all the way to the goal, touch the goalpost with the ball, turn around, and then backpass to a teammate.  He had absolutely no idea that this was much worse than actually scoring the goal.  Coaches, before being put in this position, you clearly need to explain to your team why you are asking them to do this and what it means not to demoralize an opponent.  (01/05/2016)

Last week I saw a team of pubescent males and their coaches, visiting for a select travel tournament, invade a local McDonald’s.  They were loud, rude, disrespectful of the customers and wait staff, and left a jumble of tables, chairs and trash in their wake.  The so-called “adults” didn’t seem to care, offering neither good direction nor proper example.  They just got up and left with them.  Like it or not, players-parents-coaches, YOU are the direct face of soccer to hundreds of thousands of people:  Behave yourselves and clean up your mess!  (12/06/2015)

I used to have a “Parents vs. Players” full-sized game for my U-9 and U-10 select teams.  Everyone loved them, kids and adults alike, until I decided to stop them after one incident.  I had one parent get so excited by the whole thing that he smashed a full-strength instep drive directly into the stomach of a nearby nine-year old.  The kid went down in a heap and looked like he may have been severely injured.  Fortunately, he just had the wind knocked out of him and was perfectly fine.  I don’t know what would have happened if he had been hit in the head.  These games can still be great fun, if the parents are warned how to behave.  Tell them this story.  (11/11/2015)

I agree that sometimes players need to be taught how to be good teammates.  I experienced the exact opposite in college.  I had a teammate who had his leg broken by a poor tackle attempted by a less-skilled player.  The player who had his leg broken never once said anything negative or condescending to his teammate.  He was an exceptional example of good sportsmanship and how to be a great teammate.  Coaches should use these opportunities to applaud the good examples.  (10/01/2015)

Some players just never learn how to be good teammates. In college, I watched in amazement how a player who was contacted by a teammate in a scrimmage – no injury, not even a foul – berated him and then proceeded to never speak to him again for the rest of the season. This guy was really full of himself. Coaches shouldn’t assume that players know automatically how to be good teammates and should start teaching cooperation and partnership early and keep reinforcing it.  (09/16/2015)

As the manager of a semi-pro team a number of years back I had an outrageous incident with a player regarding finances.  He got it in his head that because we had a “sponsor” (who paid for our uniforms) he didn’t have to pay his share of all the other expenses.  I had fronted the team fees so his failure to pay was a debt to me personally.  After repeated written requests were refused, I confronted him and he made a nasty scene.  Ultimately the whole team had to meet with him to resolve the situation and I was reimbursed.  To this day I don’t know whether he paid his own bill or the team took up some kind of collection.  Either way it got quite ugly and I still resent it.  Coaches, get payments in advance.  No pay – no play.  (08/05/2015)

After one senior game in Washington, DC, my team was approached and I was specifically accused by a person who identified himself as an “(Country-name deleted) diplomat” that I was wearing his sunglasses.  These were common, mass-produced sunglasses that my coach and teammates had seen me wear forever to protect my contact lenses.  I can understand that my teammates were cowed by his actions and said nothing in support of me, but the coach didn’t say anything either.   All of them were a bunch of jerks.  Coaches, you may be called upon to stick up for your players outside of the game.  If they’re in the right and you fail to do so, your credibility may be shot in all cases for good.  (07/11/2015)

If you get involved in imprinting sponsor names or a logo on your jerseys, clothing, or kit bags, be sure you get it right.  I messed up the very first one that I ever did, lettering a “Realty Co.” that actually had a name “Real Estate Corporation.”  Show the design to the sponsor and get approval in writing before printing anything.   (06/04/2015)

Coaches, when asked to provide club linesmen (assistant referees), be careful who you select!  Not only do they have to know what they are doing, but they also have to remember not to get too involved with the game as a fan.  I had one parent acting as a linesman get so excited about a legitimate breakaway goal that he raised both hands to cheer, which included the flag.  The referee called offside and disallowed the goal.  (05/08/2015)

A number of contributors have discussed former college coaches.  I had a college coach of direct German extraction who knew nothing about how to treat young men.  His approach was to “break” players so that he could “re-mold” them in his image.  He never touched anybody, but his verbal abuse and tirades were outrageous.  He literally brought nice guys to tears.  It was a good school and I got a good education, but the four years of soccer was a lousy experience and certainly no fun.  Yet another example of behavior that no coaches should ever employ.   (04/06/15)

An example of “Yours” being a bad call couldn’t have been more dramatically demonstrated than in the U.S. Men’s National Team game against Panama in Carson, CA, on February 8, 2015. In the 14th minute, Panama presented a cross to which goalkeeper Rimando, probably incorrectly, did not go to collect. Having not heard anything from Rimando, instead of properly staying on the ball, right-back Yedlin hesitated and pointed for Rimando to make the catch, essentially telling Rimando that it’s “Yours.” The ball then landed between the two of them.  This was a bad mistake, currently typical of the problems being exhibited by the National Team, and the U.S. was fortunate not to have been punished for it. A stronger opponent would have scored. This is a prime example of “Yours” as a bad call and can be used by coaches to teach why.   (03/04/2015)

We had a Referee Instructor who told stories about games that he had officiated in order to make certain points.  One story he told involved a high school goalkeeper who, every time he caught the ball, had an opposing forward run past him and then the goalkeeper would appear to wince.  Upon getting a closer look, the referee found out that, when this happened, the opposing forward was sticking the goalkeeper with a pencil!  The Instructor concluded that, “No matter how many games you officiate, you will never have seen it all.  You must be prepared for anything.”  This is equally true for coaches.  (02/06/2015)

Years ago I knew a high-school-age goalkeeper who broke his back as a passenger in a severe automobile accident.  As part of his recovery he was fitted with a restrictive brace around his chest, back and torso.  Surprisingly, after sufficient healing, his doctor allowed him to return to the field as long as he continued to wear the brace and not dive for balls.  As a result he turned into the best “position” goalkeeper I have ever seen before or since.  Coaches don’t have to create a brace, but they can use this concept of not being allowed to dive in order to help train their goalkeepers on how to position themselves properly to cut down the angle.  (01/07/2015)

I just learned of the untimely death, due to a most unfortunate bicycle vs. truck accident, of one of my former assistant coaches.  We worked together for four years almost two decades ago.  He was a most wonderful person who was always willing to help with whatever was needed to support the team.  Good assistant coaches are absolutely critical to the success of a soccer team.  Please write an article regarding the importance of assistant coaches.  (12/02/2014)

It pays to know multiple languages on the soccer field.  I had a good laugh when a player on my senior recreational team called out “Ici, monsieur” to the ball handler of our French-speaking opponents.  Upon hearing the English equivalent of “Here, sir,” the dribbler turned around and back-passed the ball to my teammate!  Seriously, it helps to be able to understand the oral communications of non-English-speaking players.  For the future of American soccer, coaches should learn Spanish.  (11/03/14)

I had a relatively new coach come up to me once and ask me if I had any drills he could use.  When I asked him the topics he needed, he responded, “It doesn’t matter, I just need something to keep them busy.”  After I got over my surprise, I was happy to provide him with a wide range of drills but I never forgot this exchange.  Coaches, it doesn’t matter if you are new or have been around for awhile, drills need to have a purpose as part of a plan.  If you can’t explain to your players how a drill applies to the game and why you are asking them to do it, you either need different drills or a whole lot better coaching instruction for yourself.  (10/06/2014)

Thanks for talking about the need for backup shoes.  I remember a very dramatic example for this in college years ago when a teammate of mine had the sole of one of his shoes break in half during the middle of the game!  He didn’t have any backups and couldn’t play for the rest of the game.  This was very extreme, but it did happen.  Coaches can use this example when explaining the need to their players.  (09/09/2014)

More on goal celebrations.  I had a player get yellow carded for taking his shirt off and he couldn’t understand why.  Coaches should explain to their players that the carding isn’t being shown on television.  (08/05/2014).

I couldn’t agree more about warning players about goal celebrations.  I had a player try to “slide” and he tore up his knee.  (07/03/2014)

Coaches should warn their players about some of the dangers of over-exuberant goal celebrations.  In my case, I had a player get his arm broken at the bottom of a huge pile of bodies as players jumped on top of the goal scorer.  (06/14/2014)

I’ve been coaching nine- and ten-year old recreational players for years.  I use the convention of calling out one of my player’s names and then saying “Look at Mikey (fake name)” in order to let them know that they are in an offside position and need to move.  So, we had one game where we were in offside positions A LOT and I wound up saying the phrase repeatedly.  After the game the opposing coach came up to me and, in all seriousness, told me that I needed to “let up on Mikey” because it might hurt his self-esteem.  The convention works, but I got a real laugh out of this unintended consequence.   (05/11/2014)

I strongly concur in the effectiveness of using a “bangboard” or a wall by an individual to practice skills.  I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that the wall not have any windows!!!  I had a player who smashed out a school window which resulted in setting off an alarm which resulted in the police coming.   (He also didn’t get his ball back and had to buy a replacement.)  Coaches must not suggest that players use a wall for skills without telling them that the wall can’t have any windows.  (04/04/2014)

I coached my own children for years, including instructional, recreational, select and travel teams.  It was years later that I realized that, because of my own personal involvement, I didn’t have any real pictures or video of them playing or growing up in the sport.  Frankly, it made me very sad.  I strongly recommend that, if coaches find themselves being caught in a similar scenario, they make arrangements with other parents to specifically take pictures and video of their own kid(s) for future enjoyment.  (03/02/2014)

Speaking of dogs, lots of dogs love to play with soccer balls and this can be great fun for kids.  Needless to say, the ball needs to be appropriately sized for the dog and the child needs to be instructed to be very careful never to hurt the dog.  Players can dribble or pass the ball out for the dog to get it.  Both should be properly monitored.  Large breeds, like shepherds and retrievers, can handle full-sized balls.  I have personally witnessed a German Shepherd that didn’t want to actually contact the ball, but would play “defense” until he was exhausted or, because nobody could get past him, the dribbler would finally give up.  I guess it helps to have four feet!  Anyway, coaches can suggest to players and parents that they can play soccer with the family dog!  (02/05/2014)

In addition to loose children, I’d like to point out the need to restrain loose dogs.  I had a problem with a large, very friendly, dog that his family just expected to stay politely on the sidelines.  He just couldn’t restrain himself and he charged out onto the field to “retrieve” the ball.  Players and parents really have no idea how a dog will behave in this situation and coaches need to inform parents that dogs need to be kept on-leash during practices and games.  (01/07/2014)

I had an experience that I would like to share with coaches of really young instructional or recreational teams.  Parents with siblings come to the games.  Unfortunately, younger siblings really have no idea what’s going on.  To them it looks like just great fun with a ball.  At one of my games, a two- or three-year-old younger sibling ran out onto the field and tried to pick up the ball, falling down on the ball and getting kicked by a player in the process.  Parents need to be told this story and need to be told to diligently watch their younger children in order to protect them.  (12/09/2013)

I had a college coach who thought that he was so perfect he wouldn’t let us players talk about anything involving soccer in his presence.  This included when we were trying to get the team amped up before the start of a game.  Seriously, coaches should know that it’s really wrong to squash enthusiasm among their players.  (11/10/2013)

I’ve got another item for “Soccer Coach, Protect Yourself!”  I was that “tough, outdoors guy,” olive skin and dark hair, with no need for sunscreen or to admit to myself that I was balding… until I was diagnosed with skin cancer on my forehead.  Guys out there, unless you have some lush head of hair, you must wear a hat and do it sooner rather than later.  (10/06/2013)

In the bad-instruction phase of American soccer, still not that long ago, one national organization was teaching coaches to tell their players to extend their arms out and throw their elbows back in order to “clear space” while they performed jump headers.  I personally witnessed a player on the receiving end of this action.  His entire cheekbone was shattered and it had to be rebuilt by packing the space in his skull from behind.   He never played again.  Hopefully this is no longer being taught and coaches were smart enough to have ignored this instruction as unsafe and inappropriate. (09/14/2013)

Thank you for your article entitled “Soccer Coach, Protect Yourself!”.  I would like to suggest another item that you might want to add due to my unfortunate experience.  When called upon at the start of the season to lay out a soccer field, I contracted the worst case of poison ivy in my life.  The inflammation spread to my whole body and I was on steroids and other medications for weeks.  Soccer coaches need to learn how to identify poison ivy and the other poisonous plants in order to avoid them, not only for their benefit but for the benefit of their players.  (08/05/2013)

The last refuge of the coach who doesn’t know what he is doing is to hide behind the excuse of the over-riding need for “fitness.”  This manifests itself in running the team all the time, sometimes for great distances, and always at the expense of work on technique and tactics.  Coaches may win a total of three games a season by driving the opponent into the ground this way, but it is a gross injustice to the players.  Coaches who engage in this approach and can’t see the need to learn and teach the whole game need to get out.  (07/06/2013)

You talk about the importance of captains on a team and how they need to work closely with the coach.  I certainly agree, but it is equally important that they know how to properly behave with the team.  I had a captain in college, elected by a popular vote of the team, who would call team meetings only with the players that he liked.  This was inexcusable and really screwed things up.  I have no idea if the coach knew anything about it or if anyone told him and he decided he couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t do anything about it.  Under any circumstance it created a real mess and the coach should have known better.  (06/05/2013)

I had a senior club coach who couldn’t make up his mind on rules for team conduct.  The team had asked him to take a “professional” approach, but he had announced that he felt the team should be conducted more for “fun.”  On a road trip to Florida one season, during halftime one of the players tried to meet with his cousin who he hadn’t been able to see for years.  The coach blasted him for not being serious enough.  It is reasonable and proper to have team rules, but you can’t have it both ways, announcing one thing and then acting another way.  Coaches have to set responsible rules and then be consistent in their application, otherwise the coach has no credibility.  (05/08/13)

Years ago, I played for a city college team where we forfeited a game because the coach did not secure the use of the field.  We didn’t have a field of our own and the coach scheduled the game on a municipal park field apparently just assuming that the field would be available.  It wasn’t.  There were adult recreational teams playing on the field the whole day and they had a proper permit.  After waiting around for hours, we ultimately had to apologize to the opponent and the referees and then leave.  Coaches, get those field permits.  (04/03/2013)

As a youth coach I experienced an odd case of racism at one of my games.  I had a boys team composed of white and hispanic players and we were competing against a team composed of African-American and hispanic players.  At one point from the opposite sideline a male (either the coach or a parent) screamed, “Come on, are you going to let these white boys beat you?”  Racism in any form or direction has no place in society or on the soccer field.  Coaches must not engage in it or let their parents or supporters engage in it and must stand up to it if it occurs.  (03/16/2013)

In college, I had an extramurals soccer coach who decided to appoint an older, foreign, graduate student as substitute coach for a day.  He had no coaching experience.  This substitute coach directed the players to do a “V-jump straddle” (like cheerleaders might do) as part of warm-ups.  The team tried respectfully to perform, but two players promptly pulled their groins and wound up being out for three weeks.  Two lessons:  1. Don’t appoint a substitute coach if they aren’t capable.  2. If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t fake it.  (02/06/2013)

There’s a certain type of parallel-frame metal goal with round pipe that institutions should never buy.  These have backstays identical to the front of the goal, which are closely connected with horizontal pieces from front-to-back at all four corners, forming a box.  I have personally witnessed a perfectly-struck penalty kick (also caught on video) that rebounded into the field off the back upright and was not recognized by the referee as a score.  If coaches have any input into purchasing decisions, they should never let their athletic directors acquire this box-like type of goal. (01/08/2013)

This is a warning to coaches that a number of PARENTS of young soccer players need to be taught what it means to be a member of a team.  It is clear from personal experience that parents who never played a team sport themselves may not understand the commitment involved for their children.  At the last game of the season one year, admittedly it was cold and damp, I had three parents fail to bring their children to the game and did not tell me in advance.  This was even though they knew the team rule that the game was to be played if they had not been contacted otherwise, and they had not.  When called desperately to try to get them to the game, they simply did not care.  We didn’t have the minimum number of players and we forfeited the game.  It was our only loss of the season and it had the effect of putting us in second place.  These parents cost the entire team an undefeated season, acknowledgement of the players’ success and hard work, and the trophies that each of them had earned.  Use this as an example to all your parents that they have undertaken obligations when they join the team and that their decisions can have huge consequences for everyone involved by not living up to those obligations.  (12/06/2012)

It is common for youth teams to line up and “shake hands” as a show of good sportsmanship at the end of the game.  This is a highly recommended procedure, but I have seen certain poor to rotten behaviors that must not occur.  I suggest using a “low five” approach and teaching the players to hold their hands out as far away from the body as possible while going through the line.  I have observed cases where opponents have spit on their hands and have actually punched one of my players in the stomach.  As a result, I recommend that a number of parents be designated to go out with the team and be close enough to the beginning, middle, and end of the line to discourage inappropriate activity.  After going through the line, players should turn to the outside and immediately return to the team sideline.  It is further recommended that players be taught to use hand sanitizer after coming back to the team.  Further, it must be stated clearly to one’s own players that nothing other than “good game” is to be said to the opponents and that any inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated.  In addition, coaches must never try to make some kind of stupid “statement” by not sending their players out for the handshake.  Players should also be encouraged to individually thank the referees.  (11/06/2012)

My senior year in high school, we had five guys on the team named “Steve.”  For oral communications purposes, we had to nickname all of them so that there would be no confusion about who was being called.  Even if a coach has two players with the same name, they should either use nicknames or their last names when communicating on the field.  (10/11/2012)

We once played in an out-of-state tournament that did not require Medical Releases.  Unfortunately, one of my players fell on a rock and cut his knee significantly.  He had to be taken to the local hospital emergency room but, because his parents were not there and we didn’t have the required paperwork, they would not treat him until we had an order from a juvenile court judge.  Imagine what we had to go through to get this order on a Sunday morning!  We were able to do it, though, and my player received excellent care and five stitches.  Those Medical Releases and other paperwork ARE important and coaches must make sure that they have them in their possession and in proper order.  (09/03/2012)

Without telling the Commissioner or making any attempt to contact me, I had a coach in my organization schedule a makeup game over top of  my practice.  I arrived at the field to find two teams setting up to play.  When I asked her what she was doing, she said I “had to leave” because her game was “more important than your practice.”  I couldn’t believe the total lack of courtesy.  I deferred but, because there was no place to go, I had to sit all 16 of my children on a hillside and talk to them for over an hour.  I later informed the Commissioner who said that she would set her straight.  At the field the coach had no clue that she had done anything wrong and wondered aloud why I was even questioning her.  Some people don’t have any common sense.  If she had contacted the Commissioner in advance, proper arrangements could have been made for an open field or time or I could have re-scheduled my practice.  (08/02/2012)

My college coach broke out and smoked a cigar every time we won a game.  Wrong.  Coaches have got to set the right example at all levels at all times.  No smoking, drinking, cursing, getting angry, screaming, etc., in front of players… ever.  (07/11/2012)

My ex-college soccer coach didn’t pay attention to the school administration.  He made commitments to some players that he wasn’t authorized to make and he didn’t take the courses that he was told to take.  He seemed to think that creating a winning record was all that mattered.  He was so oblivious that he didn’t have a clue why the Athletic Director didn’t renew his contract.  Coaching involves so much more than just making it to practices and games.  (06/24/12)

My former college coach brought in a bunch of players whose personalities and attitudes did not mesh with the existing players.  It had the effect of splitting the team in two and resulted in a lot of resentment by both groups for years.  Smart coaches know to take more into account in recruiting than just perceived skills.  (05/20/12).

My high school soccer coach did not know how to evaluate the abilities of his players.  In order to compensate for this he simply played all the seniors.  It wasn’t until the Captain of the team went to him and told him that the junior goalkeeper was better, and the guy that we were all used to playing with, that he changed the goalkeeper and we started winning.  Coaches must establish a good relationship with their Captain and then listen to him.  (05/08/2012)

When I asked my junior varsity high school coach what I needed to do to become a starter, he couldn’t answer.  He fumbled and stumbled until finally saying something about not moving my arms around so much.  Not helpful.  Coaches need to analyze their players and present helpful feedback on how to improve.  And teach them before they ask or at least be able to respond intelligently when they do.  (04/30/2012)

My old college coach (now dead) condoned the worst case of cheating you can have in soccer.  If the goalkeeper had been beaten, he didn’t have any problem with a defender grabbing the ball to keep it from going into the goal!  And he’s in the Hall of Fame!  This even happened in the 2010 World Cup!  FIFA should be ashamed of the fact that they didn’t do anything about it publicly and loudly!  It’s a horrible, horrible affront to the sport.  No player or coach should ever be associated with this kind of behavior.  (03/26/2012)

My college coach didn’t know anything about soccer at all. Prior to a game against a school that used artificial turf, he had us warm up extensively on the surface. It was a hot day in September. Needless to say, we died in the second half and gave up two goals in the last twenty minutes due to exhaustion. Artificial turf can be stifling! If you’re used to grass, don’t drain yourself doing warm-ups on hot turf. Drink fluids and pace yourself. Hopefully the coach will know how to substitute properly.  (03/06/2012)

At one practice, my high school coach had the team do the “duck walk.”  It became immediately apparent, even to fit 17-year-olds, that the strain on the knees and ankles from this activity was totally unjustified.  Coaches should never use the “duck walk.”  (02/12/2012)

 

Any soccer words or phrases mentioned above may be found in The ULTIMATE SOCCER DICTIONARY of American Terms available at Amazon.com.

 

© Copyright 2012 – 2018
John Harves
CoachingAmericanSoccer.com®
All Rights Reserved

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.

Coaching American Soccer

Instructional Soccer Coaching Manual (PDF)





Copyright © 2005 - 2018 CoachingAmericanSoccer.com®
John Harves, All Rights Reserved