American Youth Soccer Organization -- Newbury Park, CA

Coaching Resources

The Coach

A coach can be the most influential person in a child’s life. In AYSO, Positive Coaching is a fundamental philosophy because of the crucial role that a coach has. Coaching in AYSO is a chance to spend quality time with your own child but you’ll also provide an important role model for all the children on your team.

In fact, the joy of coaching is so meaningful, that many AYSO coaches continue coaching long after their own children have moved on from AYSO.

Soccer knowledge is a plus, but AYSO provides training and materials so that even a soccer novice can coach effectively by starting in the younger age divisions. Being a coach involves skills you probably already have in addition to specific soccer knowledge.

For more Region 42 Coaching information, see the Coach admin site (opens in new window).

Getting Started

Thanks to all of you that have stepped up as a volunteer coach. This can be a tremendously rewarding experience or it can be your worst nightmare. It all depends on you.
Get organized! This will go a long way to making this an experience to remember.
Remember, there are some things that need to be done NOW, and NOT the night before your first training session.

1. Register on eAYSO.org as a 2014 volunteer.
2. Ensure you have taken the current Safe Haven (post 7/1/11).
3. You must have Concussion Awareness certification.
4. You need to be certified at the level you are coaching.
5. Attend the team distribution meeting.
6. As soon as you receive your team start contacting the players parents. Figure out a time for a meeting that suits the majority of parents so that you get the maximum attendance possible. This is very important since it is much easier to recruit volunteers when you sit down with them face to face.
7. You will need to recruit at least one assistant coach, a team parent (aka team manager), a sponsor and a referee.
8. Once you have completed item 7 you are eligible to receive your uniforms from your division director.
9. It’s a good idea to make copies of the registration forms and have the parents wet sign them. Give copies to your assistant coach and team parent. This way, if you are running late, the assistant coach can still work with the team.
10. Typically, the uniforms arrive around the middle of August.

Practices start on the first Monday of August.

a. Have your cones, bibs, soccer balls, clip board ready to go.
b. You should have a medical release form for every player on your team. You must have these with you for every game, practice or any other team function.
c. Know what you are going to do during practice, at least the night before. Attempting to run a practice on the fly usually doesn’t go too well.

Gauging Success

We all have different opinions on what constitutes a successful season. For some, only a 10 win no loss season equates to success. If this is you, then statistically, you have very little chance of being successful.
Others are content with just winning more than they lose.
It is a fact that most coaches, parents and players when asked if their season was successful, will somehow relate it to the win/loss column.
After all, we teach at the coach clinics that the primary objective is to score goals and prevent the opposition from scoring.
Still, there are many better ways of gauging success.
Start with buying into the notion that development is more important than winning. Now everyone has a realistic chance of having a successful season.
At the end of the season ask yourself some basic questions:

Did your players improve their technical ability?
Are they fitter?
Are they physically stronger?
Did they make new friends?
Will your players sign up again next year?
Will you sign up again next year?
Did they have fun?
Did you have fun?

AYSO used to be known as a Youth Development Program using soccer as the tool. I’m not sure why the organization got away from that because it seems so appropriate.
If the answers to the questions above were all ‘yes’, then please consider your season a resounding success.

Remember, the teams handed out to you have player abilities from either end of the spectrum and some in between.
Even though teams are balanced on paper, they might not have the chemistry to gel together. Also, we rely on subjective ratings from the previous season coach. All you can do is your best and keep plugging along.
One of the biggest rewards for me is shopping at the grocery store and I hear a “Hey Coach!” Along comes a young man that I had coached about 15 years ago, now with his own family. We joke about how bad that particular team was and some of the characters on the team, but never dwelled on the win/loss column.

It always amuses me how a coach is quick to share his coaching secrets when the team wins all of their games. However, this same coach the following season blames the unbalanced team for not winning any games.
A great coach once said “No amount of coaching will overcome a lack of basic skills”. As said previously, you sometimes get these types of teams handed to you.
Was the coach great one year, but not the next? I don’t think so.
Here’s the reality……..2 coaches are given average teams, one is a professional coach and the other a rookie. The professional coach will probably end the season with 6 wins and 4 losses. The rookie coach will likely end up 4 wins and 6 losses. That’s about all that can be reasonably expected.
Concentrate on development over winning and every season will be a success for you and the young players entrusted to you.