Thank you for volunteering to coach for the Hudson United recreational soccer program. I had the pleasure of coaching my daughter from first grade-twelfth grade in recreational soccer. To make a long story short, I have been in your shoes!
Here are a few things that I have learned about coaching recreational soccer over the years that might help you on your coaching journey.
1) Be flexible. Make sure you share players if a team is short or if the game is one sided. I have colored vests available on field 2 for you to borrow. We do not keep standings and most divisions do not keep score because this league is about learning, making friends and enjoying the physical benefits of soccer. Enjoying the game should be the main objective of the recreational game.
2) Think safety. Make sure the kids hydrate and sub often. You will need to complete the concussion course and watch the Lindsay Law video to help you know what to do. Make sure that the First-Grade players do not hang on the small goals.
3) Know the rules. You may want to bring a copy with you to the field. The Recreational Soccer Rules are there to make sure the kids are safe.
4) Meet with the ref and the other coaches before the game to make sure you are all on the same page.
5) Be kind to the referees and help them to be better referees. They are kids and this may be their first job. It can be very intimidating to have angry parents and coaches yelling at them if they make a mistake or miss a call.
6) Be mindful of the time. Since games are scheduled nonstop all day at NC, we need to make sure we start and end on time.
7) Sub often. Encourage kids to play hard for several minutes and then sub them. Encourage the subs to watch the game and cheer on their teammates.
8) Put kids in positions that will help them succeed. Since rec soccer has players with a variety of athletic abilities it is best if you can place kids in positions that will utilize their abilities. I have found that putting the most athletic kid on the team in a defensive position and the least athletic kid on the team in an offensive position work best. This formula can help make for a very competitive game. The athletic defender will usually be able to keep up with a fast forward and they can make it difficult for offensive players to score. If you place the least athletic kid as a forward, they will not feel the pressure of defending an athletic forward. They may even score a goal!
9) Snacks are sometimes the highlight of the day. Encourage a parent to volunteer to coordinate snacks. Make sure you distribute and eat the snacks away from the field. Make sure you clean up after.
10) Try to coach with a positive voice. Consider using the sandwich method of praise, correct, challenge. Here is a link that explains the Sandwich Method. A demonstration by you or a player of what you want the kids to learn goes a long way, too. Actions speak louder than words!
11) Be familiar with the characteristics of the age you are coaching. The information specific to the age group that you are coaching as well as practice ideas for that age groups are here: Recreational Coaching.
12) Have fun with the kids!
13) Use the Sportsengine app to communicate with players. Have them rsvp for game days. Here is some Sportengine app helpful information Sportsengine Help.
I guess that was more than a few things to share but hopeful you can find some of it useful. If you have any questions or concern, please let me know.
As many of you know I also coach the Start2Kick and the Learn2Play programs. I will be coaching on Field 2 each week from 9:00 am-2:30 pm. It is difficult for me to talk to coaches during my coaching time unless it is urgent. Send me an email and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks again for volunteering! Have a great session!