Often times, especially in recreational leagues or semi-competitive leagues, people are thrust into coaching not because of desire nor ability, but out of necessity.
I have seen many occasions where parents who have never coached before, and never played soccer nor even followed soccer are called upon to coach a team themselves. How can a coach like this get up-to-speed quickly?
If you purchase and become familiar with these 5 resources, you will greatly increase the likelihood of success for both you and your team.
- FIFA Laws of the Game
- – If you’re starting from nothing, the first thing you need to do is learn the rules. Knowing and understanding the rules gives you both a starting frame of reference and may also provide a strategic advantage over coaches who are not as familiar with the rules. In addition, understanding the rules will give you credibility in the eyes of your players, parents, and even the referees themselves. Truth be told, many experienced coaches could do for a refresher on this as well.
- Successful Coaching – Now that you know the rules, you need to get an idea of how to coach. While you definitely get your money’s worth (the book is over 500 pages), Successful Coaching, by the American Sport Education Program (ASEP) is BY FAR, the best and most comprehensive book for coaches. Successful Coaching gives instruction on the principles of coaching and behavior for both you and players, teaching and physical training, and even team management. Its size may make it seem overwhelming, but it is filled with graphics and is really an easy read. Also, you can just skip the sections that do not apply to you. I cannot speak highly enough of this book.
- US Soccer’s E Licence Handbook – You’ve learned the rules and you have what you need on coaching in general. Now you need to learn how to coach soccer specifically. US Soccer’s “E” License is the basic license for competitive level coaches. The handbook covers topics including basic soccer coaching methodology, the components of soccer (technical, tactical, etc.), and the Principles of Play.
- Soccer: Steps to Success
- – Now that you know how to coach and what you need to teach, you need know how to perform the skills so you can teach them. Soccer: Steps to Success takes both technical skills – like dribbling for control, dribbling to beat an opponent, shielding, tackling, inside of the foot passing, laces (instep) passing, shooting, etc. -and tactical skills – like attacking as a group and as a team and defending as a group and as a team – and breaks each one down step-by-step and also includes graphics illustrating each step. As an added bonus, the book provides you with some practice games you can use to help your players hone each skill. This makes putting together a practice much easier.
- Drills and Practice Games – You can find lots of good material for free online, including the Practice Games section of Discover Soccer. If you’re looking to bolster your library, the NSCAA puts out a book called Soccer Skills and Drills, which includes not only an extensive list of exercises you can use, but also has a drill matrix to make finding the right one easier; and if you will be coaching children under 10 or 11, a book that is so good, I accidentally bought it twice is Soccer Practice Games.