By Tim Bradbury, Director of Coaching Instruction, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
I take great care and pride in the efforts I make to lead players and teams in a holistic way. I am completely aware that although many of them may not become great players who play professionally or at college, they all may become great people who play for life, coach one day and become active responsible adults.I spend time learning about my player’s life outside of the game, how they are doing at school, how family life is going and attempt to display a genuine interest in their likes and dislikes.
As I coach a good number of teenage players, I frequently talk to them about how they are helping their families and what they do to actually support mom, dad, brothers and sisters. Are they a positive member of the family community or are they purely wrapped up in their own wants? The conversation is one that starts with how they perform and act at practice. The challenge I present too all the players I coach i:s
“Can you be the player who most impacts a practice and ensures that the learning environment is ideal for all? Can you be the first one in? Can you be the most coachable player in the group? Can you be the one who most helps with equipment? Can you be the player who notices a teammate is down and gives them a word of inspiration or comfort?”
I work hard to make them aware that the mission above should be their number one priority and that if I can get all 18 to place it as their core mission. we will soon have a team that make remarkable progress.
Another of the core values that I work on with players is respect. The team dynamic is that we respect each other, we respect the refs, we respect the parents and all the work they do so players get to train and play. Part of this culture that deals with respect is saying "thank you." I encourage them to thank each other at the end of each game and practice, thank the refs at the end of each game and, of course, thank their parents at the end of the drive home. I ask them all to try and display their thanks by helping at home by doing something around the house that helps the family.
It seems appropriate at this time of year to once again encourage a few thank you notes (Jimmy Fallon like). So not just because it’s the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons but more because it’s just the right thing to do/ I encourage all:
Players to thank your parents for the endless hours spent driving you to practice and games while remembering not to shout orders to you as you play.
Parents to thank coaches for their efforts in developing your child even though they didn’t win as many games as you thought they should have and have yet to recognize your child is the next Messi.
Coaches to thank club officials and administrators for all their efforts, even if the biggest space you got to train in was really only suitable for 3v3, and you got the 9-10:30pm slot on a Friday.
Coaches to thank referees for the courage they show in turning up game after game knowing they will be subjected to endless ridiculous comments shouted at the top of their voices from an adult who obviously never kicked a ball.
Coaches to thank the refs who forget to give you and the players the 5-minute speech on when and where substitutes may enter the game like they are sharing some news on a new discovery in creating energy.
Coaches to tournament organizers who remember that we live in the Northeast of the US and that winter along with frigid temperatures arrives at about the same time every year.They also should be thanked for remembering how it feels to play outside when the real feel is so harsh you lose the feeling in your toes after five minutes”
And lastly but most importantly:
Players to parents who spend the car ride home listening to loud Christmas music and in so doing forget to share the latest post mortem on your performance in the game.
Best wishes to one and all