What is your coaching philosophy?

What is your coaching philosophy?

Hopefully you have given this question proper consideration as coaching involves so much more than rolling a ball out for practice and making out a line up for games.  This article will atempt to provide the reader with an outline for defining their own coaching philosophy.  It's pefectly acceptable to model yours after that of a respected coach but you must make it your own.  That is, you cannot incorporate something into your philosophy that you do not fully understand or do not believe in just because it works for someone else. 

A Philosophy for Coaching

Before actually beginning to define a coaching philosophy it would be wise to prepare for the process. One of my favorite coaching phrases and an integral part of my own coaching philosophy is "Failing to prepare properly, is preparing to fail."  Take a few minutes to consider the following 3 questions and then we will begin the process of constructing a Coaching Mission Statement.

Why are you a coach?

How did you become a coach?  Perhaps you are a parent-coach and "got volunteered" for the position. You might have a passion for the sport and for teaching.  Maybe you took the position because no one else did or because you felt you could do a better job than other candidates? Are you a coach because you believe you have something positive to offer to the players and the game they play?

Next consider where you are at as a coach and where you want to be as a coach in the future

Are you in for 1 season or do you see yourself coaching for a number of years?  Do you aspire to coach competitive club soccer, high school soccer, ODP, college or perhaps even professionally?  Determine your destination so you might then determine your course.

What do you seek to accomplish by being a coach?  
For some parent-coaches this might be as simple as getting through a season without doing too much developmental harm to players games.  Maybe you are in it to win every game? You might wish to help young players develop and prepare for competitive club soccer or high school soccer. 

Coaching Mission Statement

A mission statement is a clear concise statement that answers the following questions.

1) Who are you?

2) What is your purpose?

3) What are your goals?

4) What are your values?

5) What is the process you will follow?

Goal Setting

Who you are and what your purpose is should be easily identified. Properly setting goals can be a bit trickier so let's take a look at some of the key considerations to take into account when identifying your coaching goals.

1) Limited number of goals.

          Set a goal for yourself as coach.

          Set a goal for the season.

          Set a goal for the program

2) Be specific in defining your goals.

3) Goals must be challenging yet realistically obtainable.

Defining your Values
In my opinion this is the most important part of your mission statement.  These are the guiding principles that define you as a person.  This is who you are. Make this clear and concise.  Mine is simple and found in the "About Me" section of this website. God is first. Family and Friends are second. I am third. 
The Process
It is important to recognize where you are presently at as a coach. It is equally important to know where you wish to be as a coach. Only when we know where we are and where we wish to be can we outline a process to take us from one point to the other.  The process might revolve around becoming a student of the game and of the art of coaching. Watching other coaches, taking coaching educations courses, attending coaching clinics, watching coaching videos and most importantly finding mentors within the coaching circle you can go to for advice and counseling when you encounter difficult times.
Measuring Coaching Success
If we set goals and a outline a process for reaching said goals it stands to reason we must have some way of evaluating progress towards achieving our goals. In a manner of speaking this evaluation process may be directly reflective of your values outlined in your Coaching Mission Statement.
1) Will you measure your success by the teams won-loss record?
2) Will you measure your success by the number of players you retain from one season to the next season?
3) Will you  measure your success by the number of players that move on to play at a higher level?
In short, are you going to define success based on progress in the process you have outlined or base success on the won-loss record of the team and player honors?   It is probably best to find a balance between the two.  If players are developing, winning should follow.  Are the players having fun or is it a stressful atmosphere that surrounds the team?
As part of the ever on-going evaluation process you should periodically find it necessary to redefine goals, the process and perhaps how you measure your level of effectiveness as a coach.  The bottom line for any coach should be whether (s)he enjoys coaching and if the players are responsive to and developing under her/his guidance. 










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