Be Cool Coach!

Good coaches know that their attitude filters down to their players. When a coach is calm and poised their players tend to be as well and play reflects this. These teams overcome adversity by “playing through it”. They tend to be empowered problem solvers, creative and resilient.

If a coach is constantly yelling, arguing with referees and seemingly angry about every little thing, his team will be as well. Play is often rushed, desperate, out of control and punctuated by “unforced” mistakes. Everyone is blamed but no one is held accountable.

Not only will players follow the coach’s lead, but so too will parents. The coach who berates officials, yells at his players and is quick to find fault is likely to have an unruly parents sideline as well. There is often a general sense of unhappiness and anger that permeates the entire team. Soccer becomes a chore instead of being fun.

Calm, poised and in control does not equate to being cold, emotionless and overly analytical.  It simply means being in control of those things that can be under your control.  I’m not sure if I have ever witnessed a referee change his call because he was berated by a coach or parents, have you?  Yelling at a player for every mistake he makes is hardly a good way to go about instilling confidence, is it? Blaming your team for playing poorly is certainly shirking responsibility on the coaches part for it was his responsibility to prepare the team to compete, correct?

Good coaches maintain an even keel when coaching. They don’t get too excited when goals are scored and do not get too down when goals are allowed. The adjustments made are of a thoughtful and reasoned variety instead of knee jerk reactive decision rooted in the emotions of the moment.  Good coaches tend to use their heads more so than their mouths.  Thoughtful analysis when assessing on-field in-game situations instead of panicked chaotic solutions thrown out hoping something will eventually work.

I try to always keep in mind that my teams are never as good as they appear to be when winning and never as bad as they appear to be when losing. Teams are generally somewhere in the middle of the peak performance and worst performance. It’s important to be realistic about your team and focused on continuous progress and improvement over the course of a game and a season.

Even in the most dominant wins there are weaknesses to be found in your team’s play. And in the most lopsided losses there will have been some positives. It is important to recognize both positives and negatives in-game, but equally as important to share them with your players after the match has finished.

Do your best to remain calm, cool and collected for the good of your team. Don’t cast blame. Do empower the players to embrace on-the-field problems and adversity that they can solve and overcome these things. Do not become angry at players who are giving the best effort they have that day. Encourage players struggling with their play by lending them your confidence and letting them know you believe in them.

Have a vision for how you want your team to play and conduct themselves then be the embodiment of that vision for them. Lead by example… for that is what you do regardless of how you act. Be a positive example, a positive role model and your team will fall in line behind you. Success and wins will follow.

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