If Only I Knew Then What I Know Now

We’ve all said it before but on this one occasion I decided to act on the thought.

It was our monthly club meeting and the coaches were gathered to conduct the ugly administrative tasks necessary to operate a youth soccer club. The conversation had turned to how to retain players in the club.

“The grass is always going to be greener somewhere else” one of our more senior coaches commented. “Parents who have aspirations of greatness for their children will always be looking elsewhere. 9 times out of 10 the parent hasn’t accepted the fact that while their child is a decent player, they aren’t going to get a scholarship to a division one college”.

This same coach had a handful of players depart the year before for a larger club farther south. One disgruntled father had withdrawn his daughter from the team and then for (probably) a variety of reasons had lured other players off of the team for greener pastures.

The club’s meetings are much better run then they used to be, but this group doesn’t get together that often and there is something therapeutic about commiserating with your peers. Finally, the same senior coach admitted that

“If he’d only known then what he knows now, that the original disgruntled parent concerns would have been addressed directly and (perhaps) retained as a player parent on the team.”

“What we need is a Coaching for Dummies for incoming coaches” he added. There are many resources available for soccer coaches. Technical training, tactical training, conditioning, even team management are all topics you can find in abundance at the local book store and even on the web. Leading and managing players and parents is the hole. We as club coaches don’t pass along advice on the hardest aspect of coaching in a club environment. Parent and player expectations always need to be managed. The minute you step away from that responsibility you have failed. They will leave you or you will be forced to leave them.

I’m hoping others will join me here and pass along there experiences as a resource to incoming club coaches – a Club Coaching for Dummies.