GENERAL SESSION RULES
Youth Soccer Coaching Manual for an Instructional Soccer Program
- ARRIVAL – Please arrive at least five minutes before practice starts so that practice may begin on time. Find your “grid” or playfield and have your child dribble their ball around.
- INCLEMENT WEATHER – If you have any question about whether or not practice may be cancelled, please call the Club weather line and/or look on the website. Please do not call your coach, unless he or she has given permission to do so.
- GENERAL SAFETY – Drive slowly in all areas of the park – watch for darting children! Practice fields should be checked for glass, rocks, and other debris before starting. Children must be reminded that they are not to throw anything or engage in “horseplay.” Parents must be reminded that soccer practice and soccer coaches do not represent a “babysitting service.” Parents still retain responsibility for their child’s behavior. A parent or designated adult guardian must be present for each child during the entire time at all practices.
- SOCCER SAFETY – Children must be taught not to kick a ball in the direction of another child who has their back turned and does not know a ball may be coming. Children must be taught to “stay on their feet;” no sliding is allowed at this age. Similarly, traditional “heading” of the ball is not allowed at this age. Children should not try to stand and balance themselves on a ball. No one should shoot or play with the game field soccer goals or nets. (They can be turned over well in advance of the instructional sessions in order to make them less attractive.)
- LEFT AND RIGHT – Children at this age may not know their left from their right! Do not assume that they do! It is critical that players learn their left from their right feet and legs. Please reinforce this.
- USE OF BOTH FEET EQUALLY – All drills that emphasize the feet and legs in the instruction of ball skills must allow for the use of both feet. Equal time must be provided for both left and right. This is critical at this age in order to form a sound basis for future development.
- COMMON COURTESY – Coaches and parents alike must hold each other to a high standard and represent a true example of decent, adult behavior for the children. Emphasis must be placed on how important it is to be on the field, not on winning and losing or how many goals are scored. Inappropriate or foul language or gestures are prohibited. There shall be no smoking and no drinking of alcoholic beverages. No dogs are allowed on the grounds.
- SOCCER TERMS – Every opportunity should be taken to use correct soccer terms. They do not have to be taught or coached to this age group, per se. Simply using correct soccer terminology at the appropriate time, e.g., “that means the other team now gets to take a goal kick,” will provide its own introduction and reinforcement.
- STRETCHING – Although it is a good idea to introduce the concept of stretching, it is not needed at this age and should not be allowed to take up valuable time that could be used in skill training (one-player/one-ball, maximizing touches).
- SPORTSMANSHIP/FAIR PLAY – Actions to positively reinforce all aspects of sportsmanship and fair play are to be taken on the part of the coaches and parents whenever the opportunity arises.
- LIGHTNING/THUNDER – During a practice or a game, if lightning is seen or thunder is heard, play is to cease and the field is to be cleared immediately. Go get in your car. Do not stand under trees. An administrative decision may be made regarding resumption of activity, but it should not occur until at least 15 minutes after the last instance of lightning or thunder (some weather services recommend up to 30 minutes).
© Copyright, John C. Harves