Here are some fantastic season lesson plans from US Youth Soccer that are specific to age groups and allows for a progression of skills throughout the season.
Coaching can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. It is special time that you can spend with your child engaged in an activity that you both love. We all can likely recall a bad experience we had with a coach when we were little (bossy, mean, unfair, etc.) so you can be the one to make sure that experience does not happen to other children. It’s an incredible feeling to have 10-12 little faces looking to you for guidance and hanging on your every word as you teach them the beautiful game of soccer. There are big emotional highs throughout the season when a player scores a goal for the first time or blocks a scoring opportunity playing defense using skills you taught them. Nothing is more ego boosting than having a bunch of your child’s peers calling you “coach” and looking up to you. It a personal experience like no other and even if you don’t know a lot about the game itself, you can still be a great coach by making practices fun and being engaged with your child and the rest of your team. You will find you watch the games in a whole new way because you are not just focused on your child anymore, instead you want each of your players to succeed and you celebrate along with them when they do.
What does it take to become a coach?
In addition to enthusiasm, patience, organization and energy, you need the following things to be a coach for PYSL:
US Youth Soccer recently restructured its licensing approach for recreational soccer coaches. USYS has replaced the YM1 and YM3 courses with a national F-license. The F-license class is administered by Cal South and can be done entirely online now. It takes about two hours to complete the online course which includes the required concussion training. For more information about the F-license, go to http://www.calsouth.com/en/coaching-ed/f-license/. All coaches must have at least an F-license in order for Cal South to activate their team. Coaches who previously obtained a YM license, must now also complete the F-license. Coaches who are new to PYSL must also attend a field session conducted by the league’s Director of Coaching. The DOC will cover league specific rules and guidelines for play and demonstrate the progression of a successful practice lesson plan. Returning coaches are encouraged to attend these sessions as well. In addition, the DOC will offer other opportunities for learning different components of the game that will help and enhance your coaching experience throughout the season. Contact the DOC for dates and times of the upcoming coaching clinics and field sessions.
PYSL encourages our coaches to take additional coaching classes and obtain higher level licenses. The E-license is required to coach a Blast competitive team and is recommended for coaches at the U10 or older age groups even in the recreational division. The E-license is a weekend long class covering many aspects of coaching. More information can be found here: http://www.calsouth.com/en/coaching-ed/e-license/. The league will reimburse the registration fee after you have completed the course.
Coaches and assistant coaches are required to participate in Cal South’s risk management program prior to beginning practices with your team. Cal South uses Live Scan fingerprint technology which is considered one of the most progressive risk management programs in the country. The digital submissions provide the quickest way to submit and process background checks through the Department of Justice ensuring that our players are safe from criminals. PYSL will pay for all Live Scan costs and typically we arrange to have a Live Scan operator at our mandatory coaches meeting prior to the beginning of each season. PYSL’s registrar can also provide you with alternative locations to complete the Live Scan process if you cannot attend the meeting for some reason. PYSL also encourages team parents to participate in this process as well to ensure there is always a risk management approved adult supervising your team at all times.
A big part of being a coach is team administration. Coaches are required to attend a coaches meeting at the beginning of every season to learn about upcoming deadlines and receive other important information critical to ensuring your team’s success. Coaches will be given a coaching manual with a summary of this information but attendance at the meeting is required to ensure your proper understanding of the obligations you are undertaking as coach for your team. If you cannot attend the meeting, you must make alternative arrangements with the Director of Coaching before you will be given your team roster and equipment which is typically passed out at that meeting.
Lastly, every coach must have a reliable means of communicating with his/her players as well as the league. Email is the preferable method of communication so if you are a coach, it is important that you check your email frequently and update the league if your email changes. If you do not use email for some reason (really?) then you must notify both the registrar and Director of Coaching so that they know you need to be contacted in another fashion as they send frequent important notices throughout the season.
Please review the Codes of Conduct for Coaches: CalSouth_Codes_of_Conduct
The Director of Coaching is a good resource if you are having a particular coaching issue (e.g. how to motivate a timid player, formation questions, etc.) The internet also contains many valuable resources for coaches. A great website covering a wide range of soccer practice issues is www.soccerhelp.com. Another great resource is the Online Soccer Academy (www.onlinesocceracademy.com) which has over 200 videos demonstrating specific soccer skills. Watch the videos to learn how to teach a specific skill or have your players watch specific videos as homework in between practices. The US Youth Soccer website has many additional instructional tools and articles covering numerous aspects of coaching. You can access that information at http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/coaches/.
Cal South (our governing soccer association) has a You Tube channel which includes lots of great information for your viewing pleasure and coaching help. In particular, this last year they received a grant to prepare training videos and have completed lots of videos with training activities appropriate for the Division 7 (formerly called U6) and Division 6 (formerly U8). They intend to upload videos for Division 5 (formerly U10) by the end of the summer so keep checking back for those. These activities will visually demonstrate for you how to run age-appropriate activities for your lesson plans. You can also show them to your team to help reinforce how certain activities are to be played or link to them on your Shutterfly or team sharesite for your players and their parents’ benefit.
If you know of a good internet site with coaching tips, let us know and we can post it here for your fellow coaches.
PYSL also maintains a Facebook page where you can discuss coaching questions with the other coaches in your division.