None of us are perfect, but as Vince Lombardi said "...if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence”.
The list below is a profile of a great coach, made possible by the insight and contributions of youth soccer coaches across Canada and beyond. How many of these qualities do you possess? Take the test. If you check off 16 or more you are a great coach. If you checked off less than 16…get to work and take the test again in a few months.
- Always properly prepared for practices and games.
- The first to arrive to the pitch and the last to leave.
- Provides a safe learning environment.
- Dependable to players, other coaches and parents.
- Listens to players and always takes their views seriously.
- Is honest and open.
- Reinforces the 'right' way to behave by being a consistent role model.
- Values every player's contribution equally, but also knows that every player brings something special and unique to the team. A great coach knows their skill levels, their goals, their family circumstances and their ability to work in a team.
- Accepts every player's opinion as valid and useful.
- Makes every player feel that they can succeed by teaching them all of the positions on the field.
- Organizes and plans fun, effective training sessions.
- Lets her players make their own decisions when they're playing in a match and never criticizes them for trying something risky.
- Helps players set objectives and goals for themselves, the team and himself.
- Has the ability to make a connection with his players. Able to effectively share his vision with his players.
- Gives constructive feedback to players and asks them to reflect on their own performance.
- Takes the time to get to know the players, what makes them tick and what they like to do away from soccer.
- Emphasises effort and hard work are always more important than results.
- Promotes a healthy attitude toward sport and competition.
- Insists that players respect their opponents, other coaches, match officials and spectators.
- Properly introduces the players giving them the opportunity to bond. Monitors and puts a stop to bullying or seclusion of players.
Personally, I struggle to possess all or even most of the these qualities. I intend to take this list with me to my training sessions to try and improve as a coach this upcoming season. If you try to be great and end up being a really good coach that your players like and respect, you're doing a great job.