Coach Good Values in Youth Soccer
Too many youth soccer coaches are entirely focused on their team winning every game. Ignored in their minds are such things as sportsmanship or values as the coach puts his personal ego on the line for each and every game. As players develop and grow older, the pressure for coaches to simply demand victories grows as well. High school or challenge club coaches often have their jobs on the line. At the professional level, it’s win or get fired.
And so often many players never understand the true meaning of values or sportsmanship in the sport of soccer. Is it any wonder why we have players flopping all over the field with dives or stamping menacingly on each others legs while the referee isn’t looking? Here are some ways to implement values into your youth soccer team.
As a coach, spend some time talking to the players about sportsmanship. Make sure that every player is prepared to shake hands with their opponents after a match and that they will offer an opponent a hand in lifting them up after a challenge.
Sportsmanship is about respect, and any soccer player must be respectful of others. The way that your players act towards the other team will show you how much character your players have. When people are clearly trying to cheat or berate their opponent, it shows an inherent weakness and that must be brought up in a conversation.
Also, watch how your teammates play with each other. Are they developing friendships or are a couple players limiting the group dynamic with selfish and disrespectful displays? Often times, players will be cruel to their teammates because of competition for playing time. At the youth level, this should not be a worry since you should always strive to give the players fair playing time on the soccer field.
If you notice that a particular player is being overly disrespectful to teammates or opposing players, you will need to discuss it with them. Let them know that such words or tactics are unacceptable in the game of soccer. If the problem persists, have a conversation with their parents and explain why these antics are so detrimental to the team.
Sometimes there just happens to be a Joey Barton on the team. For those of you who don’t know who Joey Barton is, he is a violent English soccer player known more for his criminal charges and vicious attitude rather than any particular skill on the soccer field.
When your team has a player of this sort, you may want to cut your losses and kick them off the team. Although it is a hard decision to reach and usually requires a player to do something rash like starting a fight, there is no place for disrespectful culprits in soccer.
Therefore, be sure to make sportsmanship and good values a part of your coaching technique. Since most youth soccer players will not become professionals one day, by teaching them good morals and sportsmanship, you can help your players become decent adults when they grow up.