While attending the NSCAA convention I was asked by a coach, who is a graduate of the National Youth License course, what are the traits of a good coach? I answered honesty, realistic expectations of the players, open-mindedness and depth of knowledge of the game. Well that was the short answer for an on-the-spot interview. Having had time for reflection I will add to the list a strong moral and ethical character, good communication skills and a willingness to share your passion for the game.
I would further add the following thoughts from Mike Smith, currently the assistant coach for the women’s team at the University of Oregon, but he was working as the Recreation Director of Coaching for the Oregon Youth Soccer Association at the time he penned these words:
A good coach is someone who knows winning is wonderful, but is not the triumph of sports.
A kid’s coach is someone who goes to work early, misses meals, gives away weekends and plays havoc with family schedules so he or she can help out a group of youngsters.
A good coach is someone who stays half an hour or more after practice to make sure every one of the players has a safe ride home.
A good coach is someone who rarely hears a mom or dad say `Hey thanks,` but receives a lot of advice on game day.
A good coach is someone who makes sure that everyone gets to play.
A good coach is someone who teaches young people that winning is not everything, but still lies in bed at night staring at the ceiling wondering whether he or she might have done anything differently to have turned a loss into a win.
A good coach is someone who can help a child learn to take mistakes in stride.
A good coach is someone who sometimes helps a child to develop ability and confidence that sometimes did not exist before.
A good coach is someone a youngster will remember a long time after the last game has ended and the season is over.