Sam’s Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer.
Yesterday I conducted the inaugural Soccer Fair for recreation coaches for the Colorado Youth Soccer Association in Littleton with 115 coaches in attendance. It was a great service by the state association to set up such an event for its members. Some state associations have done similar events in the past and a growing number of them are planning to do so in the near future. We had discussions on players and coaching methods, practice time on the field with the coaches, demonstration of training with players and then practice time with a few of the coaches in attendance running an activity or two with the kids. That was followed up with a critique of their sessions and then a general question and answer session.
This all worked quite well on the day and is a good model for other state associations and clubs. Yet the experience brings to my mind once again of how do we better reach the truly grassroots coach? It is challenging even for the home club to get those coaches to take advantage of the many educational opportunities that abound for them. Some will say that we cannot expect volunteers to spend even more time attending a course, clinic or symposium, yet over 100 of them did so at this Soccer Fair. I think more of our volunteer coaches would take advantage of these sorts of opportunities if they knew they existed.
Sometimes the problem lies in the fact that a club head coach or an administrator has made the decision for those volunteer coaches and assumes that they would not attend a coaching education event and therefore does not pass along the information on the event. That person has arbitrarily made the decision for other adults. I contend though that those adults are quite capable of making their own decisions and that clubs and states associations must always pass along the details on coaching education events to the grassroots coach and let him or her decide for him or herself. It is incumbent upon the local soccer organization to give its new coaches information on coaching resources.
An example is the recommended reading list posted by US Youth Soccer.
Another resource is the courses and clinics offered by the state association. Here’s the link to all of the state associations websites so that you can tap into the website for your state soccer association.
There are many DVDs, publications and magazines and so on for the new coach to use to learn a bit more about soccer and how to coach. The issue too often is that the volunteer coach doesn’t know where to begin to look for that information. This is where more club directors of coaching need to be more proactive. Those coaching leaders must be sure that every coach in the club knows where to look for reliable coaching information.
So to help along those coaching leaders here is another link with many resources cited to aid their coaches.
I believe we can and should expect all of our youth soccer coaches to have some education on the sport and how to coach. The resources and opportunities are there. The state and national coaching educators need the help of the local soccer administrators and coaches to help spread the word with the novice coach. Teamwork once again is the way to success for us all!