The goal of this document is to answer many of the questions asked by volunteer coaches involved with our travel teams’ part of the WSA. Different topics will be addressed and therefore we hope that this document will help our volunteers in the role they fill for the association.
A. Coaching Qualities
- Must be organized, fun, keeping the players central in the learning environment.
- Ability to relate to young players and keep players interest levels high.
- Possess the patience to organize multiple individuals.
- Enthusiastic and encouraging.
- Ability to communicate with parents and players.
- Possess the patience to deal with players/parents who are involved with multiple activities.
- Must place long term player development as a priority over short term team success.
B. Head Coach – Professional Trainer
In the current model used by the WSA all teams are assigned a professional trainer responsible for at least 2 practice sessions during the week. It is important that the volunteer coaches and professional trainer not only align their thoughts ahead of the start of the season, but continue to communicate with one another over the course of the season. A continued dialogue to discuss seasonal goals, weekly lessons plans and the games played on Sunday is needed to ensure continuity. This is of course a two way street and both parties need to make sure an effort is made to establish a healthy working relationship.
The professional trainers are also assigned to attend a minimum of 3 games per season as well. This will help establish a closer relationship between the trainers, players and volunteer coaches. Through their match analysis they will get hands on information on the development of the team. This can help to possibly adjust goals for the team as the season progresses. This should also help to create a more cohesive learning environment from the weekday practice sessions to weekend performances. The trainer’s role during the game is to support the head coach and offer feedback to both the players and volunteer coaches. Make sure that the players hear 1 voice during the games to avoid confusion.
When any issues occur working with the professional trainers make sure you contact the DOC and the vp of travel responsible for your team.
C. Age Appropriate Priorities
To support the volunteer coaches when working out their seasonal goals and lesson plans for practice the WSA has created age appropriate priorities. The purpose of the age appropriate priorities is to help trainers and coaches understand the characteristics of this specific age group. To properly prepare yourself for a session you need to have an idea what the players are capable of, mostly technically and tactically, and what areas of the game they need to focus on to develop as soccer players at this age.
These priorities will also be shared with the professional trainers to create more continuity in our programs from team to team and from age group to age group.
D. Continue to Invest in Your Own Development as a Coach.
To be able to coach a travel team a coach needs to possess at least an F license. This course will go over the basics a coach needs to have an understanding of coaching a team in travel soccer. We highly recommend that you invest time to continue to develop yourself as a coach.
The club will offer clinics and/or workshops for their volunteer coaches worth attending. To stay up to date with the latest developments within the club it is advised to attend the general meetings held once a month during the season. All travel teams are required to send a representative to each and every meeting.
E. Include the Parents
We have to make an effort to include the parents in the athletic experience of their children. As a volunteer coach it is expected to communicate the goals/expectations with the parents on your team. Support the WSA policies/guidelines and keep the parents informed. Make sure to emphasize the WSA player development philosophy. We will continue to educate the rest of our membership through the newsletter, the website and other sources. The support of our volunteer coaches will help to strengthen the foundation of our club.
It is also important to offer parents the opportunity to ask questions. Manage the expectations, explain that player development is more like a marathon than a sprint, and be fair and honest.
Another way to keep the parents involved in the learning experience is to include them in your post game meeting with the players. The parents might not know what you and the trainer have focused on in practice the last few weeks. To keep them up to speed, informed, gather not only the players after the game, but also invite the parents over. The parents will feel included in the process. As a coach you are able to share with them what the players have done well and possibly still need to work on in order for them to grow as players and as a team.
F. Parent Meetings and Emails
To communicate goals, expectations and other important topics it is advised to have a parent meeting at the beginning of each season. This to inform parents about what is ahead of them and if needed answer questions from the parents they otherwise might not be able to ask. Remember that 1 parent meeting per season might not be sufficient.
Throughout the season you can keep parents informed through email. Not only about the household issues that need to be dealt with, but also about the development of the players and team.
- You need to possess your NJYS F License at a minimum. Higher education preferred.
- Look for ways to continue your education as a coach. Never stop improving!
- Attend the general meetings! Stay up to date with the latest developments in youth soccer and the WSA!
- Attend the clinics ran by the WSA to help you improve as a coach.
- Make yourself familiar with the WSA philosophy on player development.
- Build a healthy working relationship with the professional trainer assigned to work with your team. Make sure to be on the same page about the development of the individual players and the team.
- Get familiar with the age appropriate priorities outlined in the coaches section on the WSA website.
- Understand the needs of the players you are working with.
- Focus on the process and not on the outcome! Player development is a marathon.
- Run age appropriate and progressive practice sessions for the players on your team.
- Be an ambassador of the club. Support and explain the WSA player development philosophy to other parents.
- Manage the expectations of the players and parents. Support the club and the vision of the club!
- Make sure to schedule a team meeting at the beginning of each season to outline goals and expectations.
- Make the experience enjoyable and help all our players fall in love with the game!
- Support the club! We are all part of the same club, no matter what team you are on! We aim to provide all our players with the opportunity to play in an environment that best fits their needs. This means that players could be moved from team to team, either up or down, at the end of each year.
- Be proud to be a part of our program!
- Remember, it isn’t about us coaches. Coaches will not be judged and evaluated based on the outcome of games. Coaches will be evaluated based on the improvement made by players and team.