Soccer is a “game” like many others. It may look chaotic from the bench or appear scripted from the folding chairs, but it's ever evolving for everyone. As we’ve stated previously, its intended to be fun in many different ways. Some like to compete, some like to just understand the strategy, and others are there because their parents signed them up to make friends or learn to play in groups. The “game” is the common tie.
You're going to practice, a lot. Practicing should always have some element of the game in it. Drills are important, but they must also have some element of how it fits into the game to draw the connection of why players are working at improving their skills vs. playing the game. The irony is that to enjoy the game more, you need to develop all types of skills at the individual or team level. One of the great satisfactions of being a coach is seeing your player learn a skill in practice and execute it in a game. The genuine smile on their face when you recognize it is priceless. You may be one of the only people to understand because of the few moments you took in practice to explain it and work on it while they master the concept and technique. This is one example of “where the game is at”. Players will find the answer to this in all types of ways. You’ll get frustrated by some, but roll with it as long as you can keep the overall team moving ahead. Not every player is going to want to be a lifelong competitor. Again, roll with it as the coach not as the parent. Your roll is different.
There are resources available for new coaches to get up to speed on where to start and where to grow. The SYSA team has periodic coaching sessions and various soccer organizations have training available. SYSA also invests in coaches that are interested to earn various licenses. Get in touch with us to learn more about how SYSA reimburses coaches for selected training programs. The time you put in as a coach multiplies to every player who affirms back to you that the practice time was worth it.
"As a coach, board member and new SYSA VP, I've likely seen and heard a lot of what you may be wondering how to manage as a parent or player. Great kids with supportive parents make it all a "once in a lifetime" experience.