Characteristics of Effective Youth Coaches

You have just volunteered to become a soccer coach for a youth program in your community. Congratulations! You have just agreed to pursue one of the most rewarding and difficult challenges in which you have ever engaged. To enjoy the best possible experience, you need to adopt a number of characteristics and behaviors. Few of us possess all the abilities required to properly coach young children. 
The youth sport experience is all about children. Being an effective soccer coach requires certain traits. You must be a responsible adult at all times. You must possess a strong desire to work with children and to understand the complexities that exist within children of different ages, levels of development and maturity. How can you provide the best environment for children to grow, develop, and have fun? 
There are dozens of positive characteristics that one must possess to become an effective youth soccer coach. Some are listed below:
Characteristics of Effective Youth Coaches
·         High Moral and Ethical Standards. 
Be an appropriate role model. 
·         Honesty. 
Be fair, no one likes it if you cheat. 
·         Respect of Players, Parents, and Community. 
Develop strategies to develop positive relationships with all involved. 
·         Understanding Readiness Factors for Participation
Maturation – when to begin, how the game is structured
Learning – what are children able to comprehend and how do they learn
Motivation – internal desire to play and have fun
·         Communication
Appropriate verbal and nonverbal responses (body language & gestures). 
Appropriate language (words, tone, volume, rhythm, articulation). 
·         Development of an Appropriate Temperament for Coaching Children
Be sensitive to each child
Exhibit a calm personality
Show patience
Observe and guide; don’t direct
Use your normal voice, not a whistle. 
·         Ability to Motivate Positively
Develop high levels of self-confidence
Positive coaching
Don’t yell
·         Possess Leadership Qualities
Be prepared
Be organized
Demonstrate discipline – identify appropriate and inappropriate behavior and enforce team rules.
Learn to be critical of behavior, not a player’s personality.
·         Be Dedicated to Child Development and the Sport of Soccer
Understand what is appropriate for different ages and levels of play. 
Let every child play (and play a lot). 
·         Be Enthusiastic
Your enthusiasm is contagious
·         Have a Good Sense of Humor
Keep things light
Have fun
Smile and laugh
·         Must Have Current Knowledge of Coaching Youth Soccer
Learn about children and how they learn
Learn the rules
Learn appropriate practices, activities, and content
Learn appropriate tactics and strategy.
Learn how to have fun.

Oregon Youth Soccer is sponsored in part by: