A Youth Football Coach has many roles and responsibilities, which include ensuring young players develop their football skills and that their social and psychological needs are taken care of. The best coaches lead by example and are great role models for the young players in their care.
So what makes a good football coach? The list below outlines the characteristics a youth football coach should have. This list is not an exhaustive one but are just my own personal pointers of being a good coach.
The Characteristics of a Youth Football Coach
- Reliable – The coach has to be a reliable and dependable person who will be there whenever he/she is needed by the players, parents and officials to respond to all youth football matters.
- Patience – Patience is an indispensable element to the success of a youth football coach. Players will make mistakes; they will lose concentration. Some parents will get agitated when their children’s team is losing and blame the coach, but the coach must be able to deal with situations patiently.
- Good Communicator – A critical requirement for a youth football coach is to be a good communicator in order to put across the necessary information to the players, parents and others concerned.
- Good Sense of Humour – Youth football is about creating and having FUN. A football coach without a sense of humour can irritate players and parents alike. In training, the coach can make and accept some sensible humorous comments to lighten the atmosphere, without losing focus on the task at hand.
- Good Sportsmanship – Losing in any situation is painful but dealing with loss is an art the coach has to learn and transmit to his/her players. ‘You win some, you lose some’ is the norm in all situations in life and it is important that young players learn this as part of their development program. Good sportsmanship must be taught at home through the parents and then reinforced by the coach. This must be a commitment by the players and parents alike.
- Honesty – Honesty breeds trust from the players, parents and others, hence it is important the coach is transparent about what he/she is doing or intends to do concerning the team(s).
Alongside these characteristics, a youth football coach also has to take on a variety of responsibilities.
The Responsibilities of a Youth Football Coach
The youth football coach has a lot of responsibilities to the players, their parents and others involved with youth football. In my experience and within the guidelines of the youth football governing bodies, I list below some of the responsibilities of a youth football coach depending on the size of the youth football set-up.
- Health & Safety – The coach must provide a safe training environment for all players and coaching staff and this includes a good playing surface or field, the right equipment e.g. size of balls, training kits, and first-aid kits. When it comes to First Aid, it is important that the coach has the right skills to administer first-aid when it’s needed. The coach must also be aware of any health conditions his/her players may have that would impact their wellbeing and performance on the pitch.
- Role Model – It is the responsibility of the coach to demonstrate appropriate behaviour and attitude towards the players, parents, opposing teams and officials.
- Rules & Codes – The coach must adhere to the rules and codes of the game as set out in the rule book, which can be obtained from the National Football Association (FA) and/or FIFA websites. He or she must ensure that all players understand and abide by them.
- Coach as the Teacher – The coach is the teacher of the rules and laws of the game. He/she teaches the basic skills by developing drills and games that will help the players learn and master the technical skills of football. The coach helps to build self-confidence, motivation, social responsibility, commitment, concentration and leadership qualities.
- The Administrator – It is the responsibility of the coach to plan, organise, schedule and implement all training program and football matches accordingly. He/she will convey any necessary information to parents/guardians, officials, opposing teams and other football contacts, as well as help the players with any professional or personal problems they might have.
- The Guardian – A youth football coach also acts as a guardian to the players. He/she is the person who protects them during training sessions, offers advice and encouragement and even a shoulder to cry on when it’s needed.
These are most of the key requirements and responsibilities that you must have in order for you to become a good youth football coach. You can brush up or update your knowledge of youth football coaching by visiting your Football Association centres, local libraries or any local sources of information on youth football coaching. As I said earlier, this list of characteristics and responsibilities of a youth football coach are by no means exhaustive…they’re simply my personal pointers.
So what have I missed out? What other characteristics or responsibilities would you add to the list?
Your thoughts and experiences are welcome so please feel free to share your comments below.