Contributed by Ron McEachen, Technical Director
Dear Black Watch Burlington staff,
I’m really pleased with how the training is going. I commend all of you coaches for your patience, understanding, and conduct. This is a major responsibility that you have undertaken. Your players look to you as a role model and watch you very carefully—even when you think they aren’t. Your behavior and actions have great consequences. We need to remain supportive of each player and find a way to guide them in these often chaotic and tumultuous years of adolescence. There is so much to be learned from playing this wonderfully uncertain game of ours. It is up to you to find the teachable moments that will influence their young lives in a positive way.
The beauty and wonder of soccer is that it is a players game and it’s too often taken away by overzealous and ego-oriented coaches. A true master in teaching never gives the answers to problems, but helps his students find and discover on their own. By allowing players to make their own on-field decisions—good and bad—we are nurturing them to build confidence, creativity and understanding. My hope is that intelligent decision making will be inherent in all of our players, and become a standard in our club.
Stay the course of encouraging our players to play a possession oriented game, utilizing their technique and skill. Let’s continue to play out of back and challenge our players to figure out how to extricate themselves from difficult situations with patience and poise. And don’t forget to tell them to have fun and enjoy it. Children who are having fun are much more likely to be creative and willing to take risks without fear of failure. Players need to believe that we—their coaches and mentors—will support their creativity and help them reach their desired outcomes.
Remember to find a silver lining in every player. Give feedback about their positives, as well as their needs for improvement. Every day you show up for training it is important that you say hello to each player and establish a personal relationship. This will go a long way when you ask them for more after trailing 2-0 at halftime. A short meeting with players about their development might be good policy mid-season and a final evaluation at season’s end is essential to let them know where they stand and what they need to work on.
With young footballers especially, our emphasis should not be on winning, but on the development of the total player AND person. We want Black Watch to cultivate thoughtful, intelligent, competitive players who play with their brains and heart. Continue to lead by example through your passion and enthusiasm. It’s essential for players and parents to see how much enjoyment can be generated by a great team full of players who are committed to each other.
I’m excited and hopeful that we’ll achieve all the goals we set for ourselves. See you at training.