Quick. Take a moment and thing about the single greatest teacher you ever had. Someone who inspired you, engaged you, and maybe even changed the trajectory of your life.
Perhaps it’s a coach, maybe a high-school teacher, maybe a relative—it doesn’t matter.
Now, picture their face. (Got it?)
When you think about this person, which of the following come to mind?
- A. A life lesson that person taught you?
- B. A goal that person helped you to achieve?
- C. The way that person made you feel?
If you are like most people, it’s no contest, the answer is C.
The lesson of this simple exercise is simple—the greatest teachers aren't great just because they deliver information; they are great because they create lasting connections. They’re not about the words they say, but more about the way they make you feel.
As volunteer youth soccer coaches, you have the opportunity to make lasting impressions with young people on a weekly basis. You have the ability to connect with players and be the impressionable person in someone’s life that can have a profound impact in the trajectory in one’s life. You have the opportunity in front of you to BE that special and profound teacher and coach.
I believe that there are two important aspects to being an impactful teacher and coach—what you say and how you say it. In being a youth soccer coach there are many different situations that present themselves, either in training or in games. You have the choice as to what type of teacher, coach, and mentor you will become with what you say and how you say it. The same phrase can be screamed at a 10 year old boy 50 yards across the field, or it can be done more personably with your arm around them. You have the choice as to the type of teacher and coach you will become.
This is a very important aspect to consider as a volunteer soccer coach, because of the lasting impact and connections that you are able to make with your players. As a recreation and challenge soccer coach, you may have the good fortune to have a player or two that may develop into a high level soccer player who plays in college or even at the professional level. Most of your current and future players will not achieve this level of success in their soccer careers, but they are the future of the game regardless. Every player that you have the opportunity to coach and mentor, is a potential future soccer coach, soccer dad or soccer mom so the environment you create today, no doubt has potential long-range impacts on that player for future generations.