A poem, The Youth Soccer Coach, by the late Mike Berticelli, put to a video produced by Vince Ganzberg, demonstrates the need to continue to strive to educate our parent volunteers. While it is geared for recreation coaches, all coaches can perhaps still benefit from the message.
The Youth Soccer Coach, by the late Mike Berticelli
You donate your time to the good of our youth
But you yell and you scream and are often uncouth.
The ref is just twelve and still learning the game
But you call him a jerk and say he’s not sane.
The parents are screaming and follow your lead
As you spring up the sideline at top speed.
You jump as you yell - “Pass, pass the ball!”
You turn red as you bellow – “Ref make the *&^ call!
You’re the left back, get in your position
If we don’t win, we might lose and ruin our tradition.
Positions are needed so we look like a team
‘Cause they’re miniature pros, or so it does seem.
The fullback is bored so he picks at his nose
While the others run wild and kick with their toes!
You scream for a goal, no matter how it goes in
The skill doesn’t matter just as long as we WIN!
The parents go crazy as the ball nears the goal
Their advice and instructions will take toll!
You see “Junior” feels pressure, he’s not having much fun
We tell him to pass, when to shoot and to run.
He came here to play and to use his own mind
‘Cause soccer’s the most creative game we’ll find.
Imagination is needed on the part of each child,
Solving problems on the field makes them go wild.
A week of long practice, while just standing in line,
waiting to shoot, using one ball at a time.
This just doesn’t cut it and for some it’s too late
Make the practices fun, not the coach they hate!
They come to play soccer, not work at a game
Their excitement is something we don’t tame.
Maradona had moves that are beyond comprehension
No coaching taught those moves and gave a detention.
He learned from his friends and tried copying others
While playing in games with no coaches or mothers!
Soccer is different, not like baseball at all
No positions needed, just give them the ball.
They first must learn skill, it’s the meat of the game
If they can’t dribble or shoot, then who is to blame?
Skill must be learned through repeated trials
If motivation is there you will see them run miles!
Fun games are the answer to encourage repetition
They laugh and scream and enjoy competition
Without the skill to dribble past someone at will
Your players may win, but their growth will be still.
I dream of the day when parents just cheer
And losing a game doesn’t bring out a tear!
When practice is fun, not dull and boring
And playing the game means more than just scoring.
I know you mean well and donate your time
But bury your ego and try something sublime!
Call all the parents and ask for their aid,
You’re teaching their kids and not getting paid.
Your goal’s to develop a youngster with skill
Not a team that must win or some fancy new drill.
You see players are judged by their wins and loses
They are judged by their shots and crosses
Scholarships are given to players with great names,
Not to those who played on youth teams who never played games!
A pro player gets paid because his skills are fine,
Not because his team never lost when he was nine!
It’s time to bring soccer to new heights in this nation
The future’s in players, not a coaching citation!
Let’s start to say “dribble” and stop yelling “pass!”
You’ll then see players go to the head of the class.
I hope you’re concerned but not really offended,
It’s the need for skill that I have defended!
You’re giving your all from the good of your heart
Why not make sure the kids get the right start!