Most soccer coaches I have met first became interested in coaching because they had a previous coach that inspired them to get started. Most of the time the reasoning behind this is not something like “They made me a better player” or “Under that coach I finally fixed my first touch” but more likely it is “I learned hard work and good character from that coach” or “He taught me how to be a good father”. Most of the time athletes will remember these life skill lessons more than the soccer skill lessons that a coach brings. So why do we place such a premium on learning how to coach the game and now how to help the player grow as a person. I have been in hours of training on how to be a better Xs and Os coach, but haven’t spent nearly as much time developing my ability to teach a player how to approach life with the correct mindset.
As coaches we need to actively work to develop the skills to teach our players how to be better people. The truth is that most of these skills are taught through osmosis more than an intentional plan. Coaches who put good sportsmanship at a premium will generally coach a team that plays with good sportsmanship. For this reason I charge all coaches to take an internal look at themselves and see what positive and negative attributes they will inherently teach their players. Do you want to see your players be hard workers, are you showing that in your coaching approach? Do you want to have players who are calm under pressure, what is your response to a bad call or a poor result?