Last season, our Region had 415 volunteers coaching 444 teams. Our coach volunteers range from parents with no soccer experience coaching for the first time to seasoned veterans who have coached 10 seasons or more.
As a coach you will motivate, congratulate, teach, encourage, drill, console, strategize, lead, and mentor a small group of children or young adults for 20 weeks. Even if you have no soccer experience, AYSO will help teach you the principles of the game and how to coach kids to have fun and learn soccer. You'll learn about the game and you'll likely love it so much you'll become a coach again next year.
Here we have a collection of useful information for our coaches. Take a look around and see what information is available. If there is something you'd like to see here, please e-mail the webmaster with your suggestions.
Starting with the 2010-2011 season, we will no longer offer live training for the U5/U6 Coach Classroom Session or the U7/U8 Coach Classroom Session. To be qualified to work as a coach or assistant coach for those age groups, you must take the online training class and the live field session. Please see the online training page for all the details.
The Center for Disease Control has produced an excellent training program on recognizing, responding to, and preventing concussions. Check out the training here.
After you watch the training, you can take the quiz to test yourself.
In addition, we have several resources for you:
- Coach's Fact Sheet for your reference and to share with your coaching staff.
- Coach's Clipboard Sheet that you can print and take with you to games so you have a resource to help you recognize possible concussions.
- Parent's Fact Sheet - print several of these (English on one side and Spanish on the other) and have them in your notebook. Then if you suspect a player has suffered a concussion, you can give one to the player's parents to help them manage the injury.
Concussions are dangerous. Follow the four-step action plan on the Coach's Fact Sheet if you suspect a player might have sustained a concussion. The four steps are as follows:
- Remove the athlete from play.
- Ensure that the athlete is evaluated right away by an appropriate health care professional.
- Inform the athlete's parents or guardians about the possible concussion and give them the fact sheet on concussion.
- Allow the athlete to return to play only with permission from a health care professional with experience in evaluating for concussion.
In addition, if you remove a player from a practice or game because of a suspected concussion, fill out an incident form and an injury notification form and turn them in to the Safety Director within 24 hours of the injury.
As a coach, you try to avoid injuries by making sure your players have good conditioning, they stretch properly before training and games, they are properly hydrated, they wear shin guards and not jewelry, and they know how to use proper technique. Despite all this effort, sometimes injuries happen. When they do, there are a few things you should remember:
- Within 24 hours of the injury, fill out an incident form and an injury notification form and turn them in to the Safety Director.
- Encourage injured players to attend practice and games. Keep them participating and part of team. Do not allow players to practice or play if they are wearing a cast, but have them keep statistics, help with practices, and other useful work.
- Injured players must give you a participation release form signed by their parent to resume play.
Here in New Mexico, we coaches need to be concerned about three dangers to our players: lightning, dehydration, and hypothermia.
At the start of the season, coaches get a box of uniforms for their players that includes a range of sizes to fit a typical cross section of our players. But not all teams are typical. So we have a way for you to get more uniforms, a larger uniform, or a smaller uniform. Download the Uniform Order Form, fill it out, and e-mail it to the equipment manager. The equipment manager will check the form, let you know if there are questions, and order your uniforms for you. You should get them in a couple of weeks.
1000 Minutes Program
1000 Minutes to Better Soccer
Coaches, you observe your team in a game and decide what aspect of the game needs the most work in the next week. Then you hold training sessions to work with your players on technique, tactics, conditioning, and motivation focusing on what you saw in the game. But you can only do so much in a couple of hours a week. You can't turn a beginner into a champion in the limited time you have. That's where the 1000 Minutes Program is designed to help.
Players who practice at home, at school, and at the park - away from normal team practice - are the ones who grow the fastest and best. You can use the 1000 Minutes Program to help motivate your players to take that time to work on soccer skills away from your training sessions.
Improve Your Soccer - Enjoy a Party!
The promise of the 1000 Minutes Program is simple and compelling: "Improve Your Soccer - Enjoy a Party." Explain to your players that if they will practice their soccer skills for 1000 minutes or more during the season and keep track of their time, they will get to go to a party at Cliffs Amusement Park. There is a form to keep track of time and other good information on the 1000 Minutes page. You can make a team goal that every player completes 1000 minutes and the whole team can go to the party together. Because a lot of your team members are neighbors, friends, and classmates with one another, you can suggest they get together during the week or at recess to kick the ball around.
So, once you get players motivated to participate in the 1000 Minutes Program, what will they do with all this practice time? As a coach, you can make specific suggestions for each of your players. Or you can offer homework at the end of each practice:
"Ok players, it's been a good practice today. We worked a bunch on beating an opponent using an outside of the foot turn. I want you to spend your 1000 minutes time this week working on perfecting that move. Pay particular attention to getting a good change of speed after your turn."
Then don't forget to check the players' homework at the next practice:
"Alright players, I asked you to spend your 1000 minutes time on the outside of the foot turn. Who wants to show me what they've got?"
If you'd like some good stuff for general practice time, AYSO has created a wonderful manual, 1000 Minutes to Better Soccer. Have the parents download the manual and let the player work through some of those exercises.
If you can get your players to practice without you, you will be on your way to developing excited, skillful players. The 1000 Minutes Program is a wonderful tool to help you accomplish that.