The position of coach is very important and thus cannot in any way be done away with in whatever level of soccer.
Be it local tournaments, professional or unprofessional soccer such as children’s soccer, a coach is needed for the team to perform competitively among others.
Ideally, the coach in a soccer team is the driving force that propels the players towards impressive performance.
Who then is a coach in a soccer team?
A coach is an experienced soccer trainer who plans and directs the undertakings of the players in order to equip them with desired skills to make them better by winning matches.
They are in most circumstances former players who are out to pass on their skills to armatures and professional soccer players.
Having been a former player, the coach gets to learn the rules of the game, communication and the appropriate jargon for the game.
Generally, becoming a soccer coach requires of you to be equipped with the necessary skills that will enable you to be effective in coaching the team.
Among other key skills and qualities, a good coach of soccer has to ensure that he/she is in good health and physical shape.
Becoming a Good Soccer Coach
To become an effective soccer coach, the trainer needs to have certain competencies that will not only make him/her a professional, but also bring the difference between him and those he is coaching.
Just like a strong mansion which ought to be built on a stable foundation, becoming a good soccer coach requires that you undergo a number of stages. The basic steps include the following.
Step one _ get a starting point as an apprentice or volunteer to offer free coaching services to a young soccer team. The team can be an emerging local community team, a children’s soccer team or even a learning institution. This will not only give you interpersonal skills, but also build your capacity and skills as a coach. It is from such platforms that you can be identified to offer your coaching skills to a needy team at a fee.
Step two_ enroll to a soccer coaches’ certification. According to the FIFA (the world football governing body), the coaching licenses range from grade “E” to grade “A”. basically, coaching license “E” is the lowest rank that progresses upwards through grade D, C, B and A. Each grade takes about 15 to 40 hours of training and examinations that are both theoretical and practical, after which leads to the award of a certificate.
Step 3 _ armed with a soccer coaching license, the trained coach can competitively apply or offer to train any soccer team. A coaching license in any of the grades allows the individual to be compensated for the coaching services as a salary, wage or honorarium for their services. As a beginner however, it might not be automatic that you will attain full coaching status of seasoned teams. In such cases therefore, the probability of starting as an assistant coach is high.
Qualities of a Good Soccer Coach
Just like any other professional career, coaching too requires of the person undertaking it to portray certain characteristics. Some of these are discussed as follows:
Focused_ the coach directs all their energies on the soccer team. He/she should concentrate much of his/her efforts to the top prize.
Objective_ the top priority of a professional coach is see the soccer team becoming the best team by recording impressive results and wining matches.
Supportive and motivational_ to individual player and collective team. The coach has to facilitate and see to it that the team members have what they need for their success.
The support comes can be material and non-materialistic such as moral guidance. A soccer team that feels the help of the coach makes it more appreciative and moralized on and off the football pitch.
The coach needs to be the source of motivation for the players. He has to encourage them to always do their best whether they are wining or not.
In the event that the team records dismal results, the soccer coach has to emphasize the fact that the game is not entirely about winning.
The soccer coach has many channels of supporting and motivating the team through identifying their weak areas and motivating them either verbally or through other materialistic rewards.
Trustful _ Trust is a virtue that defines one’s character. The coach should build confidence in the team to believe in him and also believe that the team they are coaching is as competitive as the other.
Enthusiastic _ enthusiasm for the game begins with the way the coach carries himself. A focused, responsible, dedicated and motivational coach has the likelihood of influencing the players in a positive way. Their love of soccer and appreciation of team work comes from the efforts of the coach more than any other person in the football arena.
Good communicator_ communication is a quality that is required of a coach just as it is required of any professional manager. The coach has to keep a constant channel of communication between him and the players, sponsors, funs, tea officials and even parents if it is a children’s team.
The coach needs to relay timely information to all the concerned parties in a way that shows positivity about the team.
It is even more challenging if the coach is dealing with a children’s team. Here, he or she needs to express a feel of the team using the most appropriate body language and choose his words carefully.
A coach’s words are twofold. The words uttered on the pitch and off the hook can build or destroy the performance and future of the team.
Communication is both verbal and non-verbal. The facial expressions, body language and use of gestures can be of immense impact to the players’ performance.
Moreover, soccer coaches have to portray some form of diplomacy in the manner in which they handle issues.
Wrangles and other misunderstandings amongst team members or between the coach and the players can easily break a team.
Therefore, a coach with good public relations skills can easily solve emerging issues in the team and keep it intact for the interest of football.
Knowledgeable and skilled about Soccer_ to add value to the players, the coach needs to be well versed in the game, tactics and well informed about soccer. The coach needs to have a thorough understanding of the game including the rules that have to be unleashed during practices.
Observant and caring_ a coach who cares not just about the game but also observant on the happenings around the team. The coach has to include in the training character development of the player as well.
Whenever he observes a mistake among the players, he should not be hesitant to have it corrected as soon as possible. In the same way, good character and deeds among them should also be amplified for the rest to learn from and emulate.
Patient_ being a team, individuals in the team are definitely not the same. There are good and not so good players who need a little more coaching in order to match the rest of the team. A good soccer coach should therefore, recognize this and be tolerant for the low ranking layers in the team.
Patience is highly required of the coach to the slow learners or those find the acquisition of some skills be a little of a task as compared to the rest.
In a children’s soccer team for instance, some children may be naturally talented and have superior football abilities.
In such scenarios therefore, the coach has to package is or her training in a way that accommodates those with difficulties in grasping the soccer skills.
By extension, the other traits that are expected of a soccer coach can include a person who is respectful and committed to his/her trainees. As much as he is putting time in coaching the team, the coach ought to give them as much time in order to get a cohesive team.
The coach has to also be open minded in accommodating the ideas from the soccer industry as well as those that would come from the trainees about what can work and what should be rectified.
He should not be rigid to change and suggestions from assistant coach, team members and other personal that involved in the day to day activities of the team.
If the coach happens to demand discipline and time consciousness from the soccer team, he or she should also realize that punctuality during training sessions has to be demonstrated by him/her.
He should be the one to receive the players in the playing ground for practices, tournaments and other team work events.
Responsibilities of a Soccer Coach
Managing the team _ in professional football, a coach is also known as a team manager. This is because of the roles that a coach plays in the daily activities of the team.
Just like a manger performs duties that entail; planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, controlling and recruiting, a soccer coach also performs all or some of these duties.
For instance, a coach comes up with the training a periodic schedule of the activities to be undertaken by the team.
In these activities, he has a specific objective that he wants to achieve. A manger too does this part of management, which is called planning.
Through his plan, a coach aims at imparting certain skills and techniques to the team members in order to make them better.
A coach directs every action on the pitch during a training session and during a game.
He coordinates various stakeholders to ensure that the needs of the team area met on time for continuity purposes.
A coach as well organizes friendly matches in order to gauge the preparedness of the team for serious sporting events in the soccer calendar.
Training_ is the core responsibility of a coach to a team. The training sessions are supervised by the coach whose aim is to develop soccer skills in the players as well as making sure that the players are physically fit for the game and that their mental thoughts are fixed playing well.
Through the training sessions, the coach endevours to expose the players to skills such as; free kicks, corner kicks, how to score penalties, rules of the game and team work.
A coach helps the players in consolidating their skills with a strategy that would help the team to win a match.
Team Selection_ is done by the coach where he determines who gets to play in the first eleven and which players are on standby mode in case of any substitutions during a game.
The coach as well plans how each player will be utilized in in a particular season depending on their strengths, weaknesses, exposure, and other qualities that are exhibited in a player.
Selecting a team on rotational basis for various games makes the coach and players deploy appropriate tactics that are helpful for the team.
Ensuring development of the squad _ a coach should know the current state of the squad that he is coaching. From here, he can then device ways of making sure that the team members advance in order to stand better chances in competitive games.
A coach observes the daily progress of each player and comes up with ways on how to improve their weak areas. Squad development includes signing of newer players and working with other soccer experts to scout for replacements.
This helps to develop a squad that is all round and able to deliver goods results in a game or football season.
Becoming a soccer coach is a process that one has to pass through and fulfill some basic requirements before owning the title.
To be a professional coach, one has to have been a player of soccer in order to understand the rules, vocabulary and other details about the game.
Joining examinable coaches’ classes which hare both practical and theoretical makes one competent to coach any kind of a soccer team.
However, to be the most sought-after soccer coach, the person has to undergo grading examinations with the approved curriculum that will earn him/her a license to train a team.
Basically, to become a coach, you also need to constantly update your knowledge base by enrolling on refresher short courses.
This will help you to understand the roles and responsibilities of a coach, keep abreast with current trends in the soccer industry, and in turn be of value to the team.