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:
All head coaches must be licensed before the start of the season or Cal South will not allow your team to be activated in its system. Assistant coaches are also encouraged to get their licenses as well. Cal South offers licensing clinics at various times throughout the year. Coaches for U6 and U8 teams must have a YM1 license. Coaches for older divisions must have at least a YM3 license. PYSL will pay for all clinics needed to obtain your YM license. PYSL encourages (and will pay for!) coaches to obtain higher levels of coaching licenses as well or for you to attend approved coaching clinics throughout the year.
PYSL typically organizes a local coaching clinic for the fall season to assist coaches in getting their YM licenses. Because we must rely on Cal South to provide an instructor, we cannot always offer a YM license clinic for the spring season so coaches may have to travel to North County or South Bay to attend clinics in the spring. Available clinics can be found on the Cal South website at wwww.calsouth.com. Click on the Coaches tab and then click on Coaching Clinic Schedule and follow the instructions to find and register for classes.
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.
Optional Coaching Clinics:
In addition to the mandatory YM clinic to obtain your license, coaches are encouraged to attend the optional clinics offered periodically by the Director of Coaching and/or by Cal South. PYSL will pay registration fees to attend coaching clinics. The league’s Director of Coaching will typically offer at least one clinic in which you can learn fun and useful games to teach your players specific skills. You will be notified in advance of the dates and times of these clinics.
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.
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. 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.