Creating a Positive Environment for your Youth Soccer Team

Coaching is a lot like parenting – its a journey of learning that is about developing the kids, but can be so rewarding when you step back enough to enjoy the experience yourself.  On the field you are surrounded by kids trying to impress their peers, parents, and you during your slice of time in their probably busy lives.  My goal has been to help them have enough fun in this team environment to appreciate the things a team can accomplish and have pride in themselves for knowing they were an important part of it enough to come out again next season.

Part of them improving season to season is me improving season to season as well.  After all, if you want goals on the field, you need to have goals off the field.  A new resource recently pointed out to me was the Responsible Sports Podcast.  For example, Jim Liston highlighted his basic rules for keeping it a positive experience for the kids:

  • Greet the kids by name (avoid nicknames)
  • never punish with exercise
  • encourage them to make mistakes in practice so they have something to learn by
  • never pick teams in front of the group
  • end each session as a group

Its not rocket science, and it doesn’t take a lot of time, but there’s a lot of free advise out there.  There are a lot more resources out there more specific to soccer, but just like teaching the kids, I’d rather have lessons they can use in other facets of life beyond the touchline.  How do you keep yourself fit to coach?

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