Sunday, October 27, 2013

Grassroots Soccer. Coaching less ... not easy, but rewarding

I wrote an article in September about being "not so loud" when coaching.

Last night we started our Fall U8-U12 Wizard Academy at the Welland Soccer Club.  We run two programs in the fall and winter for players U6-U7 and U8-U12.  Rob Lalama, our Technical Director, has done a fabulous job engaging the grassroots through various initiatives.

Our session had 56 players, 5 coaches and 5 stations.  I will not get into the stations and organization as I've done that before.

I enjoy doing stations for a number of reasons.   The most important being that it keeps the kids in smaller group and busier.  LOTS OF SOCCER.  But my other side alternative is coaching development.

Even if a coach is experienced, I give them the plan for the station and coaching points.  And my initial message to them is to give the kids their problem to solve and let them solve it.  Fight the urge to coach too much.

I know how difficult it is to not over-coach.  As a person who has faith in humanity, I have to believe

Monday, October 21, 2013

What does your board of directors do?

I haven't written anything in a while.  I've been very busy with our Niagara College Men's and Women's Soccer programs, but I've been doing a LOT of listening lately.

Just about every Non-profit Organization has a board of directors.  This includes most sports based clubs.

(Moving forward I will refer to Board of Directors as BOD and Non-profit Organization as NPO.)

Why am I writing about BODs?  It's not to criticize, but to offer suggestions for directors and club members.

In Welland, there have always been grumblings at one time or another about boards and they all take their turn being accused of bad decisions.  Soccer, hockey, basketball, baseball or lacrosse.  Somebody, somewhere did something wrong to somebody else.

Even at a district, regional, provincial or national level , decisions on sports are analyzed and criticized.

Over the last few years:
  • Canadian Soccer implementing LTPD
  • Canadian Hockey moving the age for body contact
  • Quebec Soccer implementing, then rescinding, a ban on religious head-wear on the field
  • The way Ontario Basketball tiers teams for provincial championships
  • The most recent controversy is Ontario Soccer's selection of clubs to start the new Ontario Player Development League.
We aim our criticism at emotional targets like "nobody cares about the kids" or "in it for their own

Friday, September 20, 2013

Grassroots Soccer Festival at St Christopher School in St Catharines

On Tuesday, Septemer 17, I had the pleasure of organizing a Grassroots Soccer Festival for the Grade 3/4/5 students at St Christopher School in St Catharines, ON.

In June 2014, I was one of 30 coaches invited to a FIFA Grassroots Soccer course held in Toronto, hosted by the Ontario Soccer Association.  The objective of the course was simple "Football for Everybody".  What we did at St Christopher was based squarely on what we did during this course.

Back to the festival.

I've been itching to do one of these festivals at a school since the course.  I've organized similar group events for multiple teams to come together in a "station" type set up, but a school is where I wanted to find myself at some point.  For me, it's a good way to present an enjoyable side of soccer and a

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The challenge of staying quiet and letting them play.

It sounds easy doesn't it?  Stay quiet.  Let them play.  Simple.  But that's not the case.

To ask a coach to set up a game and just let the players play is unusually difficult.

A coach who is not confident may feel like they aren't coaching if they are not heard.

A coach might feel like the team parents think he's doing nothing because he's not interfering.

Team parents might actually feel their coach is ineffective because they aren't screaming.

By stepping back and WATCHING you can quickly see who is applying the skills your teaching and who isn't.
Think about what North Americans see in terms of coaching:
  • NCAA March Madness has half their highlights of coaches yelling

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Are your young soccer players improving?

It's the end of the summer 2013 soccer season in Canada.  Every coach has the same question "Is my team improving?"

There is one very easy, yet VERY INCORRECT way to assess your progress, wins and losses.

If the score is your only indicator, then every game can only have one team that got better.  No?

If the score is still your only indicator, then you will never be happy.

Let's be honest.  Your U9 team has all small players.  All of the other teams have 2 or 3 big boys and you ain't gonna beat'em.  Or will you?

When you run your program you need more points of assessment other than wins and losses.  I walk