By Tim Bradbury, Director of Coaching Instruction, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
I have written repeatedly about how great coaches put people first. They care more about individual and human growth than they do about technical development. They believe that if they get the team spirit and cooperation piece right and that all players are committed to being the best, they can be to serve their team, that excellence will quickly follow.
I believe that the above statement is absolutely true and factual. I do my best to create player centered environments where the players create the core values and associated team code of conduct which will be the fabric of all the team do. These meetings and core values created are the foundation of the team culture created. The strength of this culture and how strongly each player feels it is part of their identity is a key piece in how successful a team will become.
I often feel that organizing and managing the team meetings where core values and team goals are created are more difficult to manage than any training possible training session. Sometimes, I feel that managing these meetings operate in direct conflict to many everyday things I see within everyday life. I work very hard to help my players become:
Resilient-they can deal with defeat and disappointment and push on
Humble-win or lose, play or sit, they do so with a knowledge of their place within it all
Disciplined-they will work independently to help their team
Honest-when problems arise and accountability is around the corner, they tell the truth
Caring-they are willing to offer a hand to help at all times
Polite-they display good manners, treat people well and as they expect to be treated
Brave-they are willing to voice an opinion, try a new skill in a game, offer feedback to a teammate
Capable of self-sacrifice-the area where that as part of a team, there will be moments when the needs of the team may be placed before their own needs and celebrate the fact that they are willing to always put the team first.
A key part of the team culture I try to create is the ability and awareness to say thank you. I remind the players after each practice, tournament and game that they should thank their parents for the sacrifices they make so they get to play. I urge all not just to say "thank you" but also to display their thanks with their actions.
It seems appropriate during this holiday season to remind all within the youth soccer community that we should be grateful and thankful for all the people who work and support us in any way in the roles they fill.