Weekly email 10/14/15
I know at least 1 coach, but probably a few more, will reply to my email today asking me how I feel about the Netherlands not qualifying for the Euros in June 2016. To be honest? I cried a little when I saw which countries have already qualified. With no disrespect to any of the countries mentioned, but it looks like the Netherlands are among only a few other countries who haven’t qualified (San Marino, Andorra, Gibraltar, Lichtenstein, Malta, the Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan). Almost half of Europe, 24 out of I believe of 54 UEFA member countries, has been given the opportunity to compete in the Euros next summer. If you lose 5 out of your 10 games during qualification you simply do not deserve to take part in such a tournament. Our 3rd place finish at the World Cup about 16 months ago definitely covered up some of the issues that came to light at the Euros in 2012. We are good, but to stay competitive you have to continue to evolve at all levels, with time. This might not have happened the last decade with as a result a poor qualification campaign and our teams from the Eredivisie struggle to be competitive in the Champions League and the Europa League.
Although a very current topic, this is not the main topic of today’s weekly email.
I would like to touch base on the role of our parent coaches on the sideline during games. I have witnessed many games in which the parent coaches have worked out who the one voice will be and the other coach or coaches also have it clear what their role is come to game day. The result of this is very clear and the teams benefit of a clear divide. The head coach gets up every so often to coach one or multiple players, while the assistant coaches worry about the substitutes. One keeps track of the time and makes sure that the players rotate on and off the field. Another assistant, if we have 3 coaches on the sideline, talks to the players when they come off the field. They are complimented when they have done something really well, positive encouragement goes a long way!!!, and if something else needs to be addressed this is also a great time to do so. The head coach focused on the bigger picture, while the assistant coaches clearly have an important role as well.
This is how we would like to see it, but in the excitement of the game we still continue to lose sight of what actually needs to be done. I’ve witnessed situations in which all 3 coaches are up on the sideline trying to coach the team and getting to emotionally involved. I see clear signs of discontent when things go wrong, even though we all know that youth soccer players are not perfect! To avoid confusion we continue to emphasize that we only want one voice, one coach, coaching from the sideline. Divide the duties among all coaches to ensure clear communication with the players. The head coach should focus on the actual coaching of the team. Do not try to manage everything by yourself. I see too many head coaches still trying to manage all aspects of game day coaching by themselves! It is very hard to keep an eye on the bigger picture (see the email sent last week). We are several weeks in to the season and the divide of roles among the coaches should be clear by now.
I’m going to give all travel coaches an assignment for either this upcoming weekend (10/17 and 10/18) or the weekend (10/24 and 10/25) after:
Make sure to get your trainer to attend a game either this or next weekend. Let them do the coaching from the sideline. Let them be the one voice. This doesn’t mean you can or need to take the weekend off. They can help you become a better game day coach. Listen and watch as they coach the game. They will also tell you if they need any help managing the substitutions for example. Please sit back and watch the trainer coach the team. While doing this try to take in as much information as you can. We are very fortunate to have so many well qualified and experienced trainers. Use them!
I will communicate this with all our trainers to ensure they are aware of this. They are always copied on my weekly emails as well to ensure everybody is on the same page.
For more information on the role of the game day coach, please check the game day coaching guidelines in the coaches’ corner. The same guidelines have been shared with all of you ahead of the season and all coaches are expected to understand their roles and the expectations that come with them.
Director of Coaching - Westfield Soccer Association