If you have never played before, you can still easily coach at the U5-U8 levels. The emphasis on those younger ages are (1) having fun and (2) learning ball control. Ball control is learned through teaching very basic techniques about how to use your feet, and then lots and lots of practice touching the ball as much as possible. Generally, this practice comes from playing small-sided games (3v3, etc.) or playing mini-games.
As the children’s age increases, it becomes a little bit more difficult to coach because there’s a lot more to know. If you haven’t played before, you will need to do some research. You should take the US Soccer Learning Center’s grassroots free introduction coaching courses, which explain the methodology of how to run practices. Pair that with guidance from the technical skills and you’ll be well on your way.
When possible, we’ll try to pair new coaches of older age brackets with more experienced mentors or assign the new coach as an assistant coach. Having 2 coaches at the U10+ stages makes a big difference! If we don’t do this for you, but you’re interested, please make sure to ask.
There are 4 activities that coaches must do which take time:
Concerning practice, coaching at the U5 and U6 levels generally involve 1 practice a week and 1 game. At higher levels, there may be 1-2 practices a week and 1 game. Practices take a little bit of preparation time to create your practice plans. Other coaches may be willing to share their practice plans with you as well.
In addition, you generally have to arrive early to setup the cones and goals for practices. If you can get parent help with equipment setup and teardown, it’s a big help!
Apart from that, the amount of time you put into it is up to you. Some coaches live and breath soccer; some are able to compartmentalize it to just planning for practice, practice, and games.
As the coach, you have a number of responsibilities:
There are a number of pieces of equipment that are essential to coach:
The rest of the equipment is not required and is not supplied by the club. However, as the coach, you should also have:
It is helpful to have, but it is not essentially necessary to have: