Positive Coaching is One of the Five Philosophies of AYSO
This is what we mean:
Setting the Tone
Good sportsmanship begins with you.
Team spirit begins with you.
You are teaching these kids much more than just soccer, so always be aware of you behavior, because your players will be watching.
Set the right example for the kids.
Always be the first one to practice and the last one to leave.
- It is okay to expect kids (and their parents) to come on time, too.
- Come prepared with a sense of what drills you want to run and what you want to accomplish. Kids are easily distracted. If you are fumbling and stumbling about what to do at practice, you are more likely to lose their attention. Check out our skill-specific drills page when you're running out of ideas.
- Focus on drills that involve most or all of the kids at the same time. Kids get easily distracted when standing around.
- Understand the level of your players. You can’t teach the whole thing in one season. Focus on one or two skills that are age appropriate. Reinforce and praise good performance. Be patient when correcting a player.
- We are a teaching league, but we have limited time. Only one practice a week!
- We want to advance the skills of all players, not just the stars. This is the reward of being a coach: seeing all your players shine after a season of hard work.
Sure, everyone wants to win but not at the expense of excluding a player. We are here for the kids and to help them play the game. We want each kid to say they had fun at the end of a game and practice. It is the kid’s game. They should work hard to win. The coach wins if the kid’s learned something about soccer and sportsmanship, regardless of the score!
Limit your teaching during the game. That’s what practices are for. Give encouragement and take notes so you can work on skills at the next practice. This is the kid’s time.
Here are some rules to follow:
- Come to the game with your roster and positions already set for each period of play. It will eliminate 90% of all squabbling, lobbying or complaining about positions.
- Say Hello to the refs and opposing coaches before the game. We are all part of the same soccer family.
- Players should play all positions during the regular season. Even your star goalie should play out of goal at least half of each game. Kids who love defense need to play as Forwards, and vice versa. Players should learn the skills and strategies of all positions. As they get older and involved in more competitive play, they will have plenty of opportunity to focus on one particular position.
- Substitutions are made between quarters, never during the quarter (unless there is an injury). The clock does not stop at quarter breaks, so do this quickly.
- Players should be in the game at least three quarters. If you have too many players, you are required to balance it our. No player should play three or four quarters every week while others are playing two.
- Make sure that you alternate your starting line-up and your fourth quarter line-up. Players should not be sensing that there are certain times of the game when they are not as welcome on the field.
- Make sure your players have proper equipment.
NEVER, EVER BERATE THE REFEREE.
They are volunteers, just like you, doing the best they can. You undermine their authority and set a horrible example for the kids when you cannot control your emotions. Rolling of the eyes, complaining to parents or players on the sidelines is equally poor conduct. Refs will blow calls. It happens, get over it. IF you want to talk to the ref about specific or general issues, take him/her over to the side tat an opportune time and have a polite conversation about it. Perhaps you do not fully understand the Laws of the Game. Perhaps the ref just missed it.
NEVER, EVER BERATE A KID FOR POOR PLAY.
There is simply no excuse for criticizing players on the field, or barking instructions at them every two seconds. Let the kids play. Take notes. Use those notes to teach at the half and the end of the game. Most players know very well when they commit a bonehead play; there is no need to remind them.
LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO PRAISE.
A good pass. A good shot. Good hustle. Good teamwork. A good defensive play. A nice save. A good kick. Use of the whole field. Nice dribbling. Good positional play. There are dozens of opportunities to praise your players and your team every game, win or lose. Take advantage of some of them.
NEVER PUT WINNING ABOVE GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP.
Never run up the score. If your team has a victory well in hand, think about putting your goal scorers on defense, and telling them not to go midfield. Or tell them to focus on possession, not scoring. There is no defined rule as to when to ease up, but it's typically not hard to figure out.
DO NOT TOLERATE POOR SPORTSMANSHIP BY PARENTS,
whether towards the other team, the ref, or their own team or kid. Be considerate, but firm, and remind them of the Code of Conduct that parents are responsible to follow. It may be helpful to have one handy to show them. If a parent continues to be a problem, escalate to the Regional Coach Administrator and Commissioner
ALWAYS DISPLAY GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP AT THE END OF THE GAME.
Thank the refs. Thank the opposing coaches and players. And encourage your players to thank the refs too.
Running Your Team
It is up to you to set a positive tone for your team. Always be respectful of your players, opposing players, other coaches and refs. Make sure your players and parents show the same respect at all times. Be enthusiastic. Work your team hard, but always have fun!
Get some help with your duties! Get a co-coach and as many assistants as possible to help with practices. Let your team parent handle phone calls to other parents.
Always focus on positive coaching.