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Your Child's Playing Future: Getting Started - Step 2

Published: 2021-02-23
Your Child's Playing Future: Getting Started - Step 2
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Karl Dewazien of FUNdamental SOCCER, Emeritus State Director of Coaching for the California Youth Soccer Association 1978-2012, releases the second of three pieces explaining what parents need to know to ensure their child has the best possible soccer experience. 


Let's assume that anyone who is given the title 'soccer coach' by the local soccer association is qualified to work with children. But, is he/she good enough to work with your child?

You will not know that answer unless you have a one-on-one meeting with the prospective coach. I urge you to insist that the coach meets with you before the season begins.

Illustrations from FUNdamental Soccer: https://fundamentalsoccer.com/store/

If you are not aware, your child's coach is a very influential person in your child's playing future. The stimulation and support he/she provides can instill a desire to play soccer for years to come. Conversely, a lack of support could cause your child's interest in playing to decline, and playing for its own sake can be sacrificed. Therefore, before the season begins, you must find out if the coach will be able to create a learning environment that is also FUN for your child.

Here is some advice that may help in your 'Getting to Know Your Child's Coach' and building a good working relationship with that individual:


Illustrations from FUNdamental Soccer: https://fundamentalsoccer.com/store/

Approach the face-to-face meeting with the proper attitude. Your goal is to build a relationship that will benefit your child, you, and the coach. This is not a grilling to assure that your child will always be in the starting lineup on a winning team.

Greet the coach with a firm handshake and a Big Smile. The handshake helps convey certainty, confidence, and competence. The smile is an instant energizer that makes you appear approachable, friendly, relaxed, open, and comfortable.

If possible, find out and greet the coach by their first and last name. However, if you do not know the coach’s name then volunteer your name and listen for the coach to give his/her name. A person's name is to him/her the sweetest and most important sound in any language, and therefore you must remember it after the initial greeting. To do this, it is best to repeat their name in comments you make to the coach in any follow-up conversation. When you get a chance, you may even want to write down their name on a piece of paper.

Become a good listener and encourage the coach to talk about him/herself. I'm sure you are aware that you will hear only things that you already know when you are talking, but when listening you will hear what you did not know. Therefore, you would be wise to stay silent and yet very attentive to find out all about this prospective role model for your child.

When you feel satisfied and comfortable with the coach's background, then you must guide him/her toward more specific subjects and you will want to ask some of the following questions:

Illustrations from FUNdamental Soccer: https://fundamentalsoccer.com/store/

  • How many years has he/she been involved in youth soccer?
  • Why/how did they get started?
  • What age groups and genders have they coached?
  • Their feelings on winning and losing?
  • Their position on Development vs. Winning
  • How they plan on improving each player and then specifically your child?
  • Cover everything from Practice Rules and Regulations to Playing Time!


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View more of Karl Dewazien's expertise on youth soccer at FUNdamental SOCCER