"Would you enjoy that?"

As I travel around soccer fields throughout the state there is clearly a move in the right direction in terms of age-appropriate coaching and development. The majority of players are receiving thoughtful quality, modern and educationally relevant training.

This being said, I also see coaching sessions where I ask myself "why would they do that" because the training is not age appropriate for the team, which causes the session to be very little fun for either the coach or, more importantly, the players. When I ask this question directly to a coach they often reply "I never played this game myself".

This article has been written for these coaches, and the friends and parents of children playing for these coaches, to help steer your training sessions on the path of enjoyment and education.

Enjoy, Gary White Technical Director.

Personalities coaches should avoid when coaching youth soccer

1) The Drill Sergeant
Players like to have coaches who are fair but firm, youth players do not respond well to fear and shouting. At some point you will drown yourself out. Youth players respond to coaches with a Positive Mental Attitude, a sense of humor and patience.

2) The Fun Destroyer
Players like to have FUN at training and during games; a happy team is a successful team!

Don't be 'The fun destroyer' It is imperative for the sanity of the coach that you motivate your players by creating an enjoyable, safe, age-appropriate soccer experience. If players like what they are doing they will continue to come to training, improve and likely stay involved in the game into their adult years.

3) The Ball Thief
Players like to kick, chase and run with the soccer ball, so why deny them this right. Having a set of soccer balls confined is not only torture but unwise if you are trying to develop your players' technical ability. Make sure you maximize your players' time and contact with the ball.

4) The President of Unrealistic Expectations
Players want their coach to set goals but those goals should be realistic and within the player's current capabilities. Many unsuccessful coaches set goals that are better suited for adults as they lose sight of the fact they are training youth players. By providing unrealistic expectations for a team or player, coaches place unnecessary pressure on their youth players.

5) The Leader of the Unprepared
The old adage "failing to prepare is preparing to fail" is true when it comes to training youth players. The ability to prepare and organize yourself, your players and your session are key ingredients to a successful and enjoyable session for both you and your team. Make sure you have a theme for each session and an outline of what you want to teach and what you want to accomplish.

6) The Speaker
Remember youth players have a very short attention span and cannot withstand constant verbal instructions. The successful coach will get their points across as quickly and effectively as possible and will not give unnecessary lectures. Players want to play!

7) The Confidence Wrecker
Positive reinforcement and confidence building should be an essential element in all youth development and training.

Young players struggle to cope with frustration, especially when learning new techniques. A successful coach works with their players not against them. Build your players up so they can perform to their potential, if you continue to bring them down mentally they will perform tentatively and with a lack of confidence and creativity.