Behavior Problems (Part 1 of 2)

Handling discipline problems presents a distinct challenge for youth soccer coaches. Many coaches are inexperienced in dealing with discipline or even identifying real problems versus child’s play. Many coaches mistake immature behavior, which would be appropriate for youngsters, for behavioral problems.

A few factors influence the typical inexperienced parent /coach:

a. FALSE EXPECTATIONS: inexperienced youth soccer coaches begin with personal expectations of what goes on during games or practices. These expectations are, sometimes, inaccurate; these parent / coaches lack perspective. They forget that soccer is a child’s game. It is “play”. These coaches encounter reality in their first session with youngsters. They find out very quickly that working with youngsters does not meet their expectations of “coaching”. This, in turn, causes feelings of fear and anxiety. These inexperienced coaches may, at times, react abruptly and may not successfully handle these situations.

b. PERSONAL CONCERNS: New and inexperienced youth soccer coaches become concerned with “controlling” situations. They also are over ā€“ occupied with being well-liked. Many coaches see these two interests working in opposite directions: “If youngsters like me…I can’t control them,” or “l can control them, but they won’t like me.” Coaches either become over- ambitious to please players, or harsh.

Both of these approaches have grim consequences.

Coaches may feel betrayed if they are overly friendly and feel taken advantage of, while being too harsh causes youngsters to feel resentful or bitter. In the end, problems are unresolved and both the coach and youngster are angry or disappointed.

c. LACK OF RESPONSIBILITY: Many times, inexperienced coaches have difficulty coming to grips with their inability to “manage” these situations. These coaches tend to blame players, solely, for problems.

Some, on the other hand, allow serious problems to occur, repeatedly, but lack the insight which would allow them to prevent such situations from happening time and again.

After several experiences in attempting to “discipline” youngsters, coaches become increasingly frustrated. This results in the coach perceiving themselves poorly. For this reason, some youth coaches leave our ranks early. It is through coaching education programs that we should address their needs for appropriate player management.

These coaches must be empowered to help themselves overcome these “problems” and feel effective.

Real discipline problems are best described as conflicts of interest between the youngster and the coach. Are some of these interests predicated on the differences between the needs of young players and the role adults perceive youth sport to take? The answer is yes!

One of the real predicaments is to deal with behavior in a non- judgmental manner. Many times adults reprimand youngsters and embarrass them. The challenge for coaches is to address what is happening and modify their behavior without being threatening. An adult’s actions should imply that they are dealing with the behavior and not making the behavior into a personal issue. This might be caused if children are compared against one another.

Undoubtedly, dealing with behavior can be frustrating for rigid adults. It’s best to recognize that you, as the coach, are frustrated. There is a decided difference between anger and frustration. Adults need to differentiate between the two.

Again, differentiate between the behavior that is disturbing and the individual child: the behavior is what’s disturbing you.

Dave Simeone brings nearly thirty years of coaching and managing experience combined from youth, college, Olympic Development, U.S. National Teams and the National Coaching Schools. Simeone earned his ā€œAā€ license and National Youth License from U.S. Soccer and the National Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. His website, Soccer Development Strategies is a valuable resource for coaches

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One Response

  1. Reblogged this on Boots & Buzz.

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