The Role of the Youth Coach
In Futsal, (as in soccer and football) the role of the coach is that of facilitator. The coach sets up the game and the conditions for learning, provides some supervision and allows the game to teach. The coach becomes a manager of the games with the objective being to develop and improve the performance of the players.
The primary objective for all futsal players and especially children under 11 years of age is the development of technical skill but you should remember that technique is not an objective in and of itself but a tool and technical skills should not be considered the “end all and be all”. Technical skill must always have a relationship with the game (application). Problem solving, decision making, intuition, anticipation, and technical skill must be developed in the context of games.
The game, and involvement of playing the game, is most important. Too often, these activities on the individual basis are “drills” and are not realistic as far as the demands of the game are concerned. Technical skills should not be viewed as “tricks” or “gimmicks”, but in the end, must be practical to use in the game.
The priority in Futsal is to motivate players in an environment that is conducive to learning. The more pleasure kids derive from their participation, the more they wish to play and practice on their own. While their instinct to play is natural, their affection and appreciation for soccer must be cultivated. Futsal is the foundation to such goals because it:
- Allows players to frequently touch the one “toy” on the field, namely, the ball.
- Presents many opportunities to score goals.
- Encourages regaining possession of the ball as a productive, fun and rewarding part of the game (defending).
- Maximizes active participation and minimizes inactivity and boredom.
- Provides a well organized playing environment.
- Reflects the philosophy of player development expressed in state and national coaching schools.
- Eliminates complicated rules such as off-sides that may hinder youngsters from “playing”.
- Makes the game more “beginning coach” friendly because the game is simpler, thus making it easier to recruit more volunteer coaches.
- Allows the game to be the teacher!