Sunday April 9 2017
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Soccer: Coach’s Behavior on the Sidelines

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Everyone has experienced the overbearing coach – the one who runs down the sideline shouting instruction to players, yelling at opposing players or arguing with referees. In the heat of the game, it is easy for some coaches to forget that their every move is being observed by their players.

However, trailing or losing a close game does not justify unethical coaching behavior.

The following tips offer leadership advice that can benefit a novice, or seasoned, coach:

  • Remain calm at all times and always be a positive role model.
  • Stay positive by encouraging rather than criticizing during games - use practices for coaching.
  • You should be setting an example on how to behave when things are not going well.
  • How you behave or respond to situations will be picked up by the players and they will respond in a similar way.

According to Dr. Tom Turner, Director of Coaching for Ohio North Youth Soccer Association, coaches must be conscientious of unethically placing the outcome of games ahead of the ongoing needs of the children, which he labels “process vs. product.”  Although winning is the goal of playing, coaches need to keep in mind the primary reasons most children play sports are to participate and learn new skills, to be with friends, to compete with and against others and to have fun.

Consequently, provide players between the ages of 5 and 12 with the opportunity to become skillful and game savvy by focusing on their long-term development rather than their win-loss record.  Perhaps most importantly, remember children do not like being scolded or ridiculed for making mistakes and most would rather play in a losing effort than sit on the bench during a victory.