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Please don’t coach soccer, even if the other parents insist, if you don’t have the knowledge to do it!


When I’m going to a game, to a party or situations with a lot of parents, it often happens that people recognize me from the picture in the newsletter.

In those moments, besides the greetings, some parent almost always asks me the usual question: “Please help me. Next month I agreed to coach our school team and I don’t know anything about soccer and how to coach it! Could you give me some advice that could help me do that?”

In risking to be a little rude, something that I don’t have to force myself to be, I always answer with a question (that just by itself is already not very good. Answering a question with a question!).

So I ask: ” Do you play an instruments?”.
Usually they say:” No.”
” So, you don’t know how to read sheet music fluently?”
“No.”
“And, if the school asks you to lead the practice, the rehearsal of the school’s orchestra, because in a month there will be a concert, would you accept and after ask a music teacher to give you some advise to be able to do that?”.
The usual answer is also: ”Of course not!”
“So, soccer is the same. In this moment you’re asking a soccer teacher (permit me a little vanity, I‘m human like all of you!) some advice to do something that you don’t have the vaguest idea how to do! Why didn’t you say, off course not?”

The rare times that the conversation doesn’t end at this point, the next sentence is:” I know, I know, but I’m trapped in that situation because no other parents have the time to do it so, I accepted.”

My answer is always the same. ”It’s not a time issue. The issue is the knowledge. That, is something that you can’t acquire in a few minutes by asking me questions, or even in a few hours of an F soccer coaching course. Even if you get an F license, that is the lowest level, you wouldn’t be able to lead a practice. You have to go through all the sequences of licenses and at least get to the E license to coach. Next year do both, the E/D and the D, and you’ll have the tools to transfer soccer knowledge to your ’soccer students’.”

This is clearly and unequivocally the end of the conversation!

It’s O.K. I can understand and accept that. But I prefer to be a little ’direct’ instead of continuing to perpetrate the usual misunderstanding. Just permit me this consideration:

When some friends of these parents need a dentist and ask them for advice, they don’t say: ”I can do it!”, if they are not dentists! If they need an architect or financial advice, they don’t say, ”I can do it!”, if they’re not architects or financial advisers.

So, why when it’s about coaching (that means teaching!) soccer, they come out, even if reluctantly, and say: “O.K. I’ll do it!”??????

Please, act like when they ask you for Dentists, Architects or Financial Advisers! Is not impolite and it’s just……………………………… RIGHT to say “Sorry, I can‘t do it, because I don‘t know how to do it, but I know a professional soccer coach.”, like it would be right to say that I’m not a Dentist, an Architect or a Financial Adviser!

You can’t do it because you don’t have the vaguest idea how to do it and no one would blame you if you say “NO!” But, if you say YES, someone will blame you if some kids get injured because you don’t know how to lead a practice that makes sense!

And this is about parents. What about teachers at school? I’m talking about teachers who teach math, or history or literature.

BRILLIANTLY explaining the Pythagorean or the Euclidean theorems, when and why Caesar crossed the Rubicon or when and why a certain poet wrote something, what does this have to do with………………………… TEACHING HOW TO PLAY SOCCER????????

I perfectly understand that, if some teacher was a good soccer player and has a license to coach soccer, SHE or HE will do that! It’s great to ask them to do this. They already know the kids, their psychology, their strengths and weakness so, ABSOLUTELY LET THEM HAVE THE JOB!

But if you don’t know, if you don’t have the most insignificant license and knowledge to do that, and it’s surely not your fault, C’MON, what are you doing out there on a soccer field? And who is so ‘crazy’ as to put you out there?

And with this, I’m sure that the number of readers that will unsubscribe this week, will have an……………………………… enormous increase!

So. That’s life! My life, constantly……………………………… against the grain.

Coach g.

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Posted on 05 Sep 2007 by coachgianni
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