The key to a young player having a good time playing soccer is a properly motivated coach. The successful coach has three main goals for the season:
The win/loss record is far less important than the well being and satisfaction of the players. If a child is having fun playing, they will participate willingly and develop to their maximum potential.
Here are some guidelines to follow to accomplish these goals:
Be reasonable with your demands on your player's time, energy and enthusiasm. They need other interests also.
Young players play for fun and enjoyment; winning is only part of this. Be positive and notice when your player does a skill correctly. Never ridicule or shout at players for making mistakes or losing a match. If players are making mistakes in a match or are not performing a skill correctly, it is a sign that more practice and/or maturity is needed. Shouting from the sideline will not result in positive results. Players will become rattled or block out the distraction; coaches will become frustrated.
Teach your players to respect their opponents and families, without whom there wouldn't be any opportunity to play.
Respect the decision of the Referees!
Learn and teach the Laws of the Game to your team and their parents. The laws are a mutual agreement that neither team should break. Most importantly, you should teach respect for the rules and officials. Never publicly question the Official's decision and never doubt his/her honesty. Remember, many of the officials are young players learning to be referees. Without them and their development, there will be no officials for the future.
Make a personal commitment to keep yourself informed on sound Coaching Principles and the principals of children's growth and development. Take a coaching clinic to gain more knowledge on coaching players.
During practice, group players according to skill and maturity levels so they may participate on a more equal level with their peers.
Avoid over playing the talented players. Each player must play a minimum of half a game. They need and deserve equal time.
Never teach your players to take advantage of the rules, seek the advantages of superior skills.
Be a role model for your players. Your team will respect and honor your efforts.
Most importantly, teach your players to take pleasure in participation and ask parents to respect that goal. Never emphasize winning over doing one's best in the competition. If winning becomes the goal, then the players go home with a sense of failure when they lose. This defeats the entire goal of youth soccer.
Everybody has the responsibility to let young players "play the game" and for this the coach sets the tone. The coach must set the example for the behavior by the players, parents and spectators. By setting a high standard of behavior and attitudes, the coach can ensure an atmosphere of fun, friendly competition and individual fulfillment. This is the goal of youth soccer!