Soccer Friends USA co-owner and coach Sean Peckett kicks up great advice for coaching youth sports teams, from tips for coaching your own kids to promoting good sportsmanship for every athlete on the team.
Q: My daughter’s rec basketball team needs an assistant coach to volunteer for the upcoming season, and I’m the best candidate because of my experience. But I’m nervous about coaching my daughter—have you ever coached your own child? Do you have any advice for doing so?
A: As you will be the assistant coach on the team you should take up the offer. This will allow you to spend more time with your child doing something you both love and have a passion for. You shouldn't run into the normal pressures or conflicts of playing time and who plays best in a certain position, as this responseability will ultimately fall onto the shoulders of the head coach.
Q: What makes a good coach for a kids team? How does it differ from coaching adult athletes?
A: Kids view coaches as people to look up to. To create an atmosphere in which children feel comfortable, you must approach them with openness, warmth, and believable enthusiasm! For children, the coach's personality takes on an enormous significance.
When coaching children you can not have a one-sided fixation on the actual sport you are coaching. Unlike adults, children do not have the same concentration levels. It is important you provide them with a wide range of physical activities. Focus on play and personal development and offer broad general coordination skills training.
Q: As a coach, how can I promote teach good sportsmanship to my young athletes?
A: Coaches bear the responsibility for teaching players to strive for success while playing fairly, observing the laws of the game, and the highest levels of sportsmanship. Coaches must lead by example. Your players will follow your example. My best suggestion is for the coach to have a code of ethics for themselves and their team.
Sean Peckett has worked as a soccer coach for the past 12 years in NYC. He co-owns Soccer Friends USA, a soccer training school based in Forest Hills, Queens. He is currently the Head Coach of U/18's boys team at Manhattan Soccer Club. He has also been the Head Coach of Dalton and Riverdale High School Varsity teams, Sports Director at 92ndY, and Senior Head Coach at Super Soccer Stars.