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Piscataway Soccer Club

Coach Ethics

COACH ETHICS

As coaches in the Piscataway Soccer Club our main objective is to develop young soccer players in a fun and safe environment. Every coach to the best of his or her ability should strive to create this environment for all practices and games. Coaches need to be able to have fair attitudes towards their players, parents, coaches, and referees. Much of this is discussed in the "Set A Good Example" (SAGE) video. In addition to SAGE, the Piscataway Soccer Club expects that the coaches also abide by the following ethics:

  • Play all players at least 50% of the game
    In order for players to develop, they need more touches on the ball. To get more touches on the ball, they need more time in the game. All players must play at least ½ of the game. The only exceptions to this are because of:
    1. Illness or injury to player during the game
       
    2. Disciplinary action on the part of the referee (i.e., red card)
       
    3. Player needs to leave the soccer game early for personal reasons

    Players need real game experience to improve. It helps them and your team in the long run. There will certainly be differences on the amount of playing time each player on the team gets. Perhaps the more talented players will get more playing time; perhaps the players that are more prompt or attend more practices will receive more playing time. Just make sure that everyone gets at least 50% playing time in the game.

    One special case in regards to Traveling Soccer Teams: if you as a coach have a player that has missed a substantial amount of practice and therefore you feel that this player should have his/her game playing time severely diminished, then please contact the Club Head Coach before making this decision or taking this action. Even though we expect players to make most or all of the team’s practices there may be a valid reason why the player can’t make the practices or a simple solution for them making the practices. Notifying the Club Head Coach will allow him/her to contact the parents and determine what is the issue/problem. What we recommend to state to your parents at the beginning of the season is that while it is expected that the players will try to make their practices that doing so will only increase the possibility of improving your skills and your visibility with the coach. And thus would increase the possibility of increasing your playing time.

    Remember again that no players should be playing less than 50% of the games unless excused by the reasons listed earlier.

     
  • Don’t win at any cost
    As soccer coaches’ part of our focus is on winning games. While that should still be part of our focus, it should never be more than developing our players. There may be situations where you want to win the game and want to have your most skillful players on the pitch. However, you cannot do this at the expense of other players on your team. Meaning that you have to make sure that they all receive the appropriate amount of playing time – even at the expensive of winning the game. If you are concerned that by doing this that your parents will question your actions then let them know upfront that this is the philosophy of the club. Let’s be clear about this that as soccer coaches we want to win the match but as youth soccer coaches we want to win the match while developing all of our players.

    As a coach you may find this difficult because you have various skill levels on your team. And we understand that there is a degree of difficulty there. However, this is the challenge that you have as youth soccer coaches.

     
  • Don’t run up the score
    There will certainly be times that you are on both sides of winning a lopsided game or losing a lopsided game. It doesn’t feel good on either end of it, nor should it. As a sign of sportsmanship, we should be sensitive to running up scores in our league games or in-town (instructional/recreation) games and takes actions to avoid this. As a rule of thumb, let’s use MNJYSA of a six-goal difference. So if you sense that your team is going to overmatch the opponent, then attempt to take actions to not run up the scores. While scoring goals is the main objective to a match, this can be an opportunity to work on other tactical or technical developments. Some examples of actions to take to minimize running up the score are:
    1. Remove your more talented/skillful players and replace them with other players to may not get as much playing time.
       
    2. Switch positions of players so that you may have more fullbacks and less midfielders or forwards.
       
    3. Remove one player or more from the field to try and make the game more challenging.
       
    4. Don’t shoot on goals until every player on your team has touched the ball without an opponent touching the ball.
       
    5. Encourage your players to only use their weaker leg.
       
    6. Play keep-away.
       
    7. Other


    Playing instructional games we will be more concerned about these types of games. Playing traveling games, we may not be playing opponents who will have the same philosophy as we have. Still we must try our best to not have these lopsided matches. This could indicate that either one of the teams are not flighted correctly.

    One caveat is that you may be playing a game that is heavily wind-aided. So for the first half one team dominates and then the second half the other team dominates. If you are the benefit of the wind in the first half of a traveling game then while we do not encourage running up the score, you may wish to have 6 goals before the half and strategize your defense for the second half.

    Also, there may be tournaments that you are in that values goals scored or goal difference. In these cases, you may have to just obey your tournament rules.

     
  • Play players in a variety of positions
    Another key in the development process is to have your players try to play a couple of different positions. This is especially true in the early development phase of U11 and under. There will be times that you will be pleasantly surprised by the results. And there will be times that maybe it doesn’t work out right now for that player. Still we should try to do this as our goal is to build better players for the future and not necessarily a better team right now. Having players play a variety of positions builds them better for a total soccer (football) experience rather than specializing in one position.

     
  • Treat the Referees with respect
    Referees have the most difficult job in any match. They may make calls that one side may disagree with. They may see something that the spectators/coaches don’t see. They may not see something that spectators/coaches do see. They will occasionally make a mistake. As a coach you should realize this and not let your emotions of the game get in the way of the referee calling the game. Add to this that many refs are young adults should add to our sensitivities. Please respect the referee and the difficult job that they have to do.

     
  • Treat the Players with respect
    Most players are in soccer to have fun. If we as coaches yell or harp on our players, then it will not be fun for them. And eventually they will leave and not play anymore. Please don’t talk down to your players. Although you will need to help teach and correct their mistakes please do so by respecting them as fine young players.

     
  • Understand the laws of the game
    As coaches we should have complete knowledge of the “Laws of the Game”.   We need to know this to understand how the game is played, to understand the refs actions, and to pass this knowledge to our players. The website: http://www.fifa.com/en/game/laws.html contains the laws. Additionally, it is recommended that you take the grade-8 referee class, to learn these laws even if you don’t intend on refereeing.

     
  • Lead by example
    Their coaches can heavily influence players. So whether you realize it or not you are a role model to many of the players that you coach. Your players are observing your actions, your words, and your mannerisms. Please realize this and show and give respect to those around you. We need our coaches to be positive role models for our players.

     
  • Encourage your players
    Youth players of all ages need some sort of encouragement. None can be as powerful to them when coming from their coach. As part of player development, a coach should encourage their players at times to take risks. For example, perhaps a coach should encourage their player to try that double scissors dribbling move during the game or to try to make an overlapping run. Encouragement also on the emotional side is necessary from time to time, to let them know that it is ok to make mistakes on the pitch.

     
  • Point out the positives
    Youth players are going to make mistakes, many of them. This is a certainty. While we need to make individual corrections on a player’s technical skill or decision-making process, we should always point out the positives that the player has demonstrated. Make sure that you are always looking at each player’s positive skills. Don’t rate the player’s skills on the relativity of others but on how they are progressing from when they first started the season. This can be on their skill in general or something specific that you saw them do at the practice or the game.

     
  • Work on the team corrections during practices
    As a coach, you may want to correct some small things during a game. Major corrections however, will not be correctable during a particular game and will need to be worked on at the next few practices. Those observe what needs to be corrected at the games but avoid trying to make those corrections during the game as that may often lead to much confusion with your players. Use your next practice (or practices to correct that). For example, during a match your opponent may have a free kick that is close enough to score. You may want your players to make a “wall”, however, they may not know how to do that or may not know what you mean. Trying to correct it by yelling to all the players may cause confusion and maybe distract your goalkeeper. Thus working on it in the following practice may help you next time when the situation arises.

     
  • Open communications with parents
    Nothing will frustrate parents more than to not know what is happening with the team that their child is on. Giving your parents too much information is better than not giving them enough information. Make sure that you establish a rapport with your players’ parents. Let them know what is happening in terms of your teams’ practices, games, parties, etc. Also, let them know what may be happening in the club. For example, let them know about:
    1. General membership meetings
       
    2. Club training available
       
    3. Tryouts for Piscataway Travel Soccer (if currently in instructional)
       
    4. Tryouts for Summer Select Teams (if currently in traveling)
       
    5. Registration for Summer Regional Teams (if currently in traveling)
       
    6. Tryouts for Olympic Development Teams (if currently in traveling)
       
    7. Potential soccer tournaments
       
    8. Soccer camps available for summer or holidays


    As part of player development we want to stress the importance to let all players know of these opportunities. So an instructional coach should let his/her players know about the opportunities of travel soccer. And a travel soccer coach should let his/her players know about the opportunities of select teams.   Some of these opportunities might lead to a player on your team leaving and playing for a team on which he/she is better suited, for example, an Instructional player who leaves his/her Instructional team in order to play for a Traveling team where his/her soccer playing skills can be more effectively developed and challenged. However, we as youth soccer coaches have to remember that our goal is to promote player development even if it means we make our overall team weaker by losing a player.

    Use all different media available to communicate with them via: e-mail, telephone, paper copies, messages in bottles, smoke signals, etc.

     
  • Be organized with your team
    In addition to communicating well with your players’ parents, as a coach you are responsible for much administration action with your team, getting schedules together, doing paper work, etc. Try to be organized and disseminate all appropriate materials that are necessary for your team. If you feel that you don’t have the organization skills to effectively do this or if you would only like to focus in the technical coaching aspects, then find a team manager for your team amongst your parents to help with the administration functions. We need to make sure that all the players’ parents are well informed.

     
  • Understand that there will be scheduling conflicts
    As a coach it may be very frustrating that you don’t have as many players as you wish for during practices or for games. We do understand that you are volunteering your time and may feel that it is being wasted. Still we need to understand that our players and their parents also have many activities in their lives and will have conflicts with their soccer practice and maybe even some games. We need to be tolerant of this and not punish players for this. We can reward those that attend practices, just not punish those that cannot attend. The best we can do as coaches is to encourage our players to come. And even though we may not get a full squad or half a squad, we can still hold a practice that can help our other players. This is another reason why we need to focus on developing all our players.

     
  • Understand the level of your players
    Sometimes we put unrealistic expectations on our players. We can forget that they are young, don’t have as much strength, speed or stamina as we would like or think as quickly as we think they should. Their soccer skill level will only improve with more and more repetition and this is going to take years to develop. One practice on a certain skill will not be enough for a player to pick up that skill. Understand that among your team there will be several levels of skills that they have. Some players will be able to pick up a soccer skill more quickly than others. Still this should not discourage us from continuing to teach these skills. If we can understand the level that our team players are at then we can better know which soccer skills we can teach now and which that we may have to wait for in the future.

     
  • Challenge yourself to educate yourself further as a coach
    As we have expectations for our players to improve with practice and games, we should also look to continuing to improve ourselves as coaches. We can do this by taking soccer-coaching courses.   This education can come in the way of formal training (e.g., USSF License Courses) or in the way of informal training (a 2-hour coaching seminar. Reading soccer coaching material from books or articles is another informal method that can assist you. Whether formal or informal there will be great benefits to you as a coach. And their will be even greater benefits to the players in our club as you will be able to pass along this additional knowledge to them and help foster the player development further.
     

Coaches have a great responsibility in our club; we understand and appreciate all the work that they do for our players. Our players are the most important part of our club. We need to make sure that they enjoy the sport, get the development training that they need, and be in an environment that is safe and fruitful.

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