Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Joystick Soccer Coach

I am a passionate soccer player and youth coach. One thing I find difficult to resist, but even more difficult to accept when I see other coaches doing it is the notion of being a joystick coach. In the beginning of my coaching career, it was hammered into my head that soccer is a "players game" and to develop players, a big part of coach's job is to give them freedom to make mistakes, present opportunities to learn from them, and challenge them to make good decisions on their own.

I get IMMENSELY frustrated when I'm coaching a U6 team and my opposition has TWO coaches on the field active giving instructions to the kids. While these teams are often much more effective at scoring goals, it really makes player development difficult because the other team has a pair of 30 something men explaining how to take advantage of the situation to score more goals.

Coaches, limit your instructions on the field, else you'll end up with robots who will likely be ambivalent to the game. Let kids play, follow up good things with positive encouragement if you must, but don't try to remote control your players. I often wonder if joystick coaches go out into the sandbox with their kids and tell them where to dig and how deep to dig and when to dig. Do they explain "No, that's not a proper sandcastle, a sandcastle is supposed to be like THIS"?

I doubt it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That why the TAG LINE of AYSO is
Great Soccer Starts Here. It's more than just words.
The 6 Philosophy's have worked well for over 40 years for a reason and they work well in over a thousand different regions and with over half a million kids. Don't believe it? Ask alumni Julie Foudy or Landon Donovan1!!!