Welcome to the Coaches Corner! Our goal is to provide education and standards for all coaches involved with a power soccer team. Currently, we’re preparing to announce a coaches training and development program in 2018, and we’ll have more news soon regarding certification for all coaches as a requirement for the 2018-2019 season.Basic coaches training is provided through most US Youth Soccer programs, and these programs will help you with some of the basics on how to plan a practice, and how to keep your players interested and stimulated. Stay tuned for more announcements to come, which we hope will be helpful as our program develops.In the meantime, we’ve also compiled a list of things to know and consider as a coach.
Here’s what we think you should know:
A lot of our coaches are also parents of players, and that’s a great thing. But it can also be tough. So our first piece of advice for all our coaches is to keep the roles separate. Remember, during the game you’re not there to be a parent to one player—you’re there to be coach for a whole team.
It’s important to know your players’ strengths and weaknesses in order to think tactically. Who has stronger peripheral vision? Who has weaker upper body strength? These factors should play a role in the strategies you develop in the game.
Likewise, remember that the equipment is also important. Consider, for instance, how you’ll utilize the striking surfaces of the chairs, or how to help players think of the chair as an extension of themselves. The better you understand the equipment, and how best it can be used, the more effective your team will be.
It’s part of the coach’s job to help players feel at one with their chair. Based on the limitations of the player’s disability and age, you’ll need to help make sure the player is comfortable and confident they won’t fall out of the chair during play. You’ll also want to work with players individually to provide drills that help stretch their current level of control.
During a practice, it’s not enough just to turn players loose with a ball. Practice should be structured. Begin with a warm up, and have a clear idea of what skills you want to develop. Plan on certain plays, and test your players with one-on-one or two-on-two matches. Keep practices to no more than one or two hours. And above all, make sure players work hard—and have fun.
Goals are important. They help give you and your players something to strive for, and help your team improve. Set long- and short-term goals for the team and individual players. Make sure to identify smaller goals along the way, too, so that you can recognize and reward progress.
It’s also important to have your players set goals for themselves. Work with your players individually to identify areas they’d like to improve—and develop a plan to make it happen.
Should you call set plays from the bench, or allow players to make the decisions? There’s no right or wrong answer. What’s important is getting everyone on the team to see the field the same way you do. Remember, you might not always have the best vantage point from the bench—teaching your players how to identify and execute good plays is your best strategy for success.
Every game requires a unique plan based on the opponent. As a coach, you should be spending some of your down time at tournaments scouting potential opponents. Include your key players during these scouting missions, as well as in discussions and observations. And always be learning from other players and teams by watching how they execute their own tactics—and think about how you can adopt those same techniques.
Tactics and strategy are important. Fun and sportsmanship are mandatory. If your players aren’t having fun and showing good sportsmanship, you’re not doing your job as a coach. Coaches serve to set the tone for their players. If you’re not having fun, chances are good that your players aren’t either. And if you don’t establish a decorum for your team, you can’t be shocked if someone behaves badly.
When you decide to coach, you’re taking on a big job. But it’s also an incredibly rewarding one. We love our coaches, and we want to make sure they’ve got the tools they need to succeed. If you’ve still got questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.