Youth Soccer Coaching Manual for an Instructional Soccer Program
- Balls – Every player must have their own ball. It must be marked in permanent marker with their last name. Players are required to bring their own ball to practice and to be responsible for keeping up with it and taking it home. Further, they should be strongly encouraged to practice with their ball at home. Parents should be informed that they should purchase an inexpensive “Size 3, FIFA-approved, official size and weight” soccer ball (balls range from Size 1 to Size 5 with 1 being the smallest and 5 used by adults). When properly inflated, balls can still feel “hard” or “soft.” For this age group, the ball should feel “soft” when kicked. Unfortunately, the “feel” of a ball is learned with experience over time. (The Club should sell balls and shin guards.)
- Shin Guards – Shin guards are mandatory for all activities. (Unfortunately, players without shinguards will not be allowed to participate.) For this age group, they should be the type that either pull on “sock style,” or use velcro, but otherwise stay on by themselves. They should have a soft backing on the side next to the leg and a hardened outer surface. They must be fitted to the size of the child, always above the ankle and below the knee to all for proper movement of the joints. One size does not fit all. They do not have to be expensive. They should be covered by outer socks when worn. A thin pair of socks underneath the shin guards may be preferred by the child, rather than having the shin guards directly against the skin. The guards should be washed periodically.
- Shirts/Shorts/Socks – Soccer shirts should be provided by the Club. Specific “soccer shorts” and “soccer socks” are not required, but make a nice complement to the program.
- Shoes – Specific “soccer shoes” (“cleats”) are not required. If purchased, they should be inexpensive and have molded-rubber soles. Shoes with metal or plastic in the soles or cleats are not permitted. Soccer shoes should be fitted to exact size or one-half size larger with game or double socks and even the shin guards on, if the shin guards are sock- or stirrup- style. General athletic/sports (“tennis”) shoes are fine, however they must stay on the feet under soccer conditions. The laces of general or soccer shoes must be tied in such a way that they do not come undone. Full tightening from the bottom up and then “double-knotting” is recommended.
- Proper Clothing for the Weather – Children should not be over-dressed when it is hot and they must have appropriate, warm, clothing when it gets cold (sweat shirts, pants). Team shirts may be worn over other clothing. A jacket can then be worn over top which can be removed while playing.
- Water – All children must have their own water bottle or a “sports drink” of sufficient quantity to last for an entire practice. This is true even in cold weather. Coaches shall provide for sufficient water breaks, especially in warm weather.
- Wear Nothing Dangerous – Players shall not wear any clothing or accessories that could otherwise prove harmful to themselves or to others. This includes belts, bracelets, necklaces, wrist-watches, casts, splints, hats, ear-rings, rings, sun glasses, or anything that is generally hard, made of metal, or dangles. Proper “sports glasses” are acceptable. This applies to both boys and girls. There are no exceptions
© Copyright, John C. Harves