Traits of a Good Coach

A good coach knows results are not the ultimate measure of success in athletics.

Passion For The Game: Coaches need to love the sport they coach and be able to share their enthusiasm for their sport with the players entrusted to them. Their passion must transcend all aspects of the game - the teaching of technique and tactics, respect for the spirit of the game, opponents, officials and spectators and ensuring a positive environment of encouragement and empowerment.

Love of Players:  A coach needs to love working with the players of the age group he coaches. The relationship between coach and player should energize and motivate both parties. It is a relationship to be celebrated in the context of athletics and in the broader spectrum of life.

Knowledge: A coach must be a student of the game. Continuing education is not an option. The moment you think you know everything there is to know about the game is the point in time you should stop coaching.

The Ability to Teach: This is a companion to knowledge. A coach must have an ability to teach the basics fundamentals and deeper intricacies of the game. In order to do so the coach will need to recognize not all players learn in the same manner and be able to adapt lesson / practice plans to keep everyone on the same page.

Patience: This might be the most important trait a coach needs. On the soccer field the decisions players make can evoke emotions ranging from satisfaction to bewilderment to irritation. And then there are the off-the-field issues that can creep into the equation as well. Being able to maintain an even keel is of vital importance for a coach.

Tolerance: Is the companion of patience. Players bring the entire range of emotions with them to practice and the game. Getting them to be able to focus and concentrate on soccer for the time you have them can be a challenge. The ability to enable players to channel their energies in a focused and positive direction on the task at hand (soccer) is a key characteristic found in good coaches.

Acceptance: The third part of the coaching trinity along with Patience and Tolerance is Acceptance. Each player is an individual and each comes with varied potential, technical and tactical skill levels. Each player has value as an individual and as a member of your team. You must acknowledge and nurture that worth in order to spark passion for the sport and a desire to work on improving within each player.

Respect: Treat players with the respect you wish to be treated with. You may think the title of coach brings you respect, but you would be wrong.  Respect is not given or bestowed upon a coach. As a coach you must earn respect just as you expect players to earn your respect.

Motivation: I include motivation in this listing because we so often hear of its importance in athletics, but if we take care of Patience, Tolerance, Acceptance and Respect you will find little difficulty in motivating players... or people.

Sportsmanship:  I include sportsmanship much as I did motivation for if we are patient, tolerant, accepting and respectful it stands to reason we will also exhibit good sportsmanship.

In summation, coaching is about treating people as you would like to be treated while igniting a passion within them to become the best they can be as a player and teammate in the sport they have chosen to participate in. 

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