Types Of Coaches

As a young man, my soccer coach was an angry Italian. He spent most of the game yelling… in Italian I think, because I don’t remember a thing he said.

I was busy. There were ten players on the other team trying to get the ball away from me while the ten players on my team were moving, waiting, and yelling. “What to do with the ball?” would be in my brain, eyes would be dialated so I would see shapes, color, and movement – it’s the only thing a player sees when they have the ball.

“Man on” is the only phrase I would really listened for.

“Pass it to Donnie. He is open on the left wing about around midfield. There is a sandwinch in the car for you…” a phrase longer than 2 or 3 words was immediately ignored.

I’m playing here. Any complete sentence was deemed cheering, and I barely heard that.

Today, when I coach, I rarely yell. And if I do, it’s a players name and only when the ball is out of play. When I went for my D lisecsne, the instructor said something intelligent.

“You coach during practice. The game is not the time to coach.”

He was basically saying that during practice, I can yell, use complete sentences, and explain the details of the game. During the game, if I coached correctly during practice, the kids should be able to apply what they learned in practice and should be successful.

Here is an example. Last year we gave up a free kick just outside our penalty area to the right of goal. The goalie quickly screamed wall. My centerback ran up to the placed ball and stood 3 feet from it. Three other players joined her. The ref back them up and the other team took the free kick.


Although the parents on the attached video will say other wise, we practiced this. The players were coached for the situation and took the appropriate action.

I coach during practice; but, like parenting, there lots of ways to coach. Below are some other styles and my thoughts on them.

1) The Bench Warmer – This is a coach who sits in a chair or on the bench and displays not much interest in the game or the players. Usually, this is a professional coach who is subbing for another coach and has not learned the girls names. I really don’t like this kind of coach. Not only are the parents wasting money for a ‘professional’ coach, the kids are being shown how much the game doesn’t mean to their coach.

2) The Joystick Coach – This is the coach who tries to control the game via yelling exactly what the player with the ball should do. Most of the time this is a new coach in the younger age groups trying to install a tactical system on players who don’t know how to trap a ball. Eventually they get exhasberated at the lack of player control and either shut up or start to yell louder (yeh, more cheering!). I laugh at this kind of coach.

3) The Questioner Coach – “Can we find our shape?” “Can we make a connection?” “Can we score a goal while stopping the other team from scoring a goal?” I see this alot with young professional coaches and it’s better than the joystick coach, but as a player, I’m not listening to rhetorical questions.

4) The Conversationalist Coach – This is a coach who likes to have a conversation with a player while the ball is in play, maybe even within their reach. Often times, they will demand eye contact. As a player, I would find this annoying. As a coach, I think my team has an advantage… a distracted player.

5) The Yeller – He yells at the ref. He yells at his players. He yells and yells and yells. Sometimes props like towels are brought in; sometimes large demonstrative gestures are displayed. This is Bobby Knight with a gym chair wanna be. I hate the Yeller. I’ve never seen a ref being yelled out stop the game and say to the coach, “You’re right. I am an idiot. Penalty kick for your team.” Fortunately, Yellers are usually good at keeping english explitives out of their vocabulary. I said english expletives.

As I said above, there lots of ways to coach. I prefer to coach during practice, and let the kids show what they learned in the games. I may enhance their understanding during the game, but I will only do that at half time, or when I have subbed them out. When the ball is at their feet, it’s no time for me to coach.