What are Coaching Principles? and What are the Principles of Successful Coaching?
By Neil Bradford, Director of Coaching
.All successful coaches have their own beliefs and opinions about what coaching is and how coaches can help players. Some might believe that players, especially young players should not be coached but should be allowed to develop themselves; other coaches believe that players should be nurtured carefully from an early age to avoid the development of bad habits and individual weaknesses.
Your view is probably based on how you were brought up and taught how to play the game of soccer, on your present knowledge and your future expectations. Your coaching is affected by your beliefs, attitudes and motives. These factors will influence your reasons for wanting to coach and provide the personal, moral and ethical principles that guide your coaching.
Will you, for example condone cheating, allow swearing, or punish players for a poor performance? Or will you promote fair play and honesty, and reward effort. Are you more interested in producing winning teams than improving players? You might hold specific views about the relative value of competition and winning. It would be in the best interests of your players to balance the importance of winning with other objectives, for example, development or enjoyment.
There are significant ingredients in the game of soccer, but not possibly as significant for young players as the development of sound technique. If you are unsure about your beliefs, you need to define them because finding out about yourself helps you to outline your coaching principles.
Coaching Principles and Soccer
You should share your coaching principles with players, parents, club members and fellow coaches so they can clearly understand your beliefs and motives. For instance, if a young player comes to you seeking general improvement but is groomed by you to play wingback as part of your strategy for a winning team, the chances are you will frustrate and unmotivated this player and probably upset the parents.
The example highlights the coaching principles of helping players to meet their own ambitions as we as embracing positive interpersonal behaviors such as self-control, honesty, fairness, equality and dignity. For instance, do you encourage your players to accept refereeing decisions even though your opponents appear intent on disagreeing with them? How do you react when one of your own players is arguing with an official or a teammate, or towards a parent who is negatively criticizing his own child from the touchline?
Your answers to such questions reflect your coaching principles, and you should be prepared to discuss with other coaches. What you consider to be unacceptable principles might be acceptable to other coaches, or vice versa.
Principles of successful coaching
The principles you up hold will be evident in your behavior towards others, and in how you expect people to behave towards you. Principles of successful coaching might include:
Respecting the needs of individuals and treating all players fairly
Developing independence by encouraging players and other coaches to accept responsibility for their own behavior
The development of individuals as people as well as soccer players.
The development of mutual trust, respect and commitment.
Positive acknowledgement of progress and achievement.
Communication with players, coaches, parents and other helpers or support agencies (e.g. schools, medical practitioners)
Promoting fair play within the laws of the Game and respecting the dignity of opponents and officials.
Accepting responsibility for the conduct of players and encouraging positive social and moral behaviors.
Maintain confidentiality of information when appropriate to do so.
Displaying high personal standards of behavior, dress and communication.
Ensuring as far as possible the safety and health of players
Developing personal competence as a coach
The Coach’s role and responsibilities is to gain the respect of the players and take reasonable care of them. Soccer coaches need to prepare and organize themselves thoroughly in order to teach effectively and safely.
Your role as a soccer coach goes beyond that of a skilled and knowledgeable technician who is seeking to help players learn and improve. At times throughout your coaching career, you might be called upon to act as a fitness trainer a social worker, a motivator, a disciplining, a friend, a journalist, a mentor, a manager and an administrator as well as many other roles.
For some of these roles; it is important to know where to seek more expert support for yourself and your players; perhaps when evidence of physical abuse is disclosed to you or where a player might be experiencing financial hardship. You will learn through experience how to handle other roles and the most important step in coping with the various parts of the job is to get to know your players.
Coaches are usually held in high esteem by young players and are important role models for children. With such status comes responsibility Soccer Associations usually specify that soccer coaches must display high personal standards of appearance, behavior and organization. Most importantly coaches should accept responsibility for the conduct of their players and encourage positive and non- discriminatory behaviors.
The qualities of a successful coach
Regardless of whether you are naturally lively and enthusiastic or quiet and shy, there are particular personal qualities required by all coaches for them to be effective. These qualities need to be harnessed with coaching skills so that you can help the individuals that you coach to achieve their potential and enjoy soccer.
The qualities of a good coach might include enthusiasm, patience, open mindedness, fairness, knowledge of the sport, a desire to learn, and a willingness to help other people improve. Without these positive personal qualities, the most skilled technical coach might not be able to help people improve effectively.