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How Important is Winning?

As a youth soccer coach you may need to change your focus from “winning” to “succeeding”.

Success = Meeting or exceeding expectations
satisfying your network
(a group of interconnected people).

Follow these steps to help make your season a success:

  1. Establish what the expectations are for your team. If you are coaching U-6 to U-8 you can take this first part out of the equation because winning or losing should not be a concern. If you are coaching U-10 or higher and your team is young and inexperienced, expectations should be low when it comes to winning. If your team is highly skilled and experienced expectations should be higher.

Can you have a successful season without winning a game? ABSOLUTELY
Can you have an unsuccessful season without losing a game? ABSOLUTELY

  1. Define your network. This is a typical youth soccer coach’s network:
City Soccer Association------Club-----Coach-----Assistant Coaches-----Manager-----Parents-----Players------Your family

  1. Determine what you need to do to satisfy each group in your network.

City Soccer Association: You may win every game this year but if you do not follow the rules of your association you will have an unsuccessful season. Ex. You continued to verbally abuse officials during the season and eventually you were suspended from coaching.

Club: How you represent and interact with the other members of your club will go a long way towards your success as a coach. This is a two way street and you may find that your club will prevent you from succeeding. If that is the case, it may be time to find a new club.

Assistant Coaches/Managers: Having the wrong mix of coaches/managers can ruin your season. Make sure you carefully select your coaches, keep them involved with every practice and game, and make sure you all agree on what it will take to have a successful season.

Parents: These are your paying customers. Make sure you give them the respect they deserve. Listen to their concerns and give them thoughtful answers to their questions. You may win every game but if little Billy spent half of his season on the bench, you have failed to satisfy his parents, not to mention little Billy.

Players: Definition of player-a person taking part in a sport or game. By the definition alone how can you even consider benching a child? If you have 12 players on your team all 12 players need to play! It is very important to meet the needs of your players. They will be satisfied if they get equal playing time, have fun, make new friends, improve their skills, and feel challenged. Winning isn’t even in the top 5.

Your Family: Sometimes you forget why you got into this in the first place. If you fail to satisfy your own son or daughter’s needs you have really failed. Don’t expect too much and try and make it a personal goal to strengthen your relationship with your child each and every season from your shared experience in soccer.