After having described, in the first article the entire process, still in a synthetic way, how you become a soccer coach, I will now focus exclusively on the step one: gain previous experience!
Nobody starts building a house by the roof. The path to become a soccer coach is long and should be well planned. In Portugal, it is recurring to mention that the path up to UEFA Pro coach is longer than training a doctor of complex specialties!
So, the first step is as a starting point of preparation for what comes next.
Within this first step, we must ensure the compliance of the following tasks:
Although, at this stage, you still do not have your professional certification as a coach, you should look for situations that can put you in touch with the practice. It will be almost like a preliminary stage where you can see exactly what it is to be a coach and the challenges he faces. So regardless of your age or background, it is extremely important that you find a space to experience and experiment. I suggest you look for the nearest soccer team, it could be an amateur club, a school or a group of friends, and propose to help out the technical team – even if it’s to carry the soccer balls and the flags. In this way, you will have the first contact with soccer training, excluding a series of eventual surprises in the future.
After I published the first video about this subject, in soccer HUB blog I’ve had the contact of someone that said that followed my advice and that he will start a kind of an internship in the University’s soccer team where he teaches. So, look for the right opportunity and take a change.
It is also important at this stage to seek to acquire some of the knowledge you will need for either the certification course or your future work as a coach. You can look for online training, workshops or seminars promoted by local clubs or associations and even coaching conferences.
Recently I’ve interviewed Ian Barker, the head of Soccer Coaches education of the United Coaches Association, that is the North American Soccer Coaches Association, and he told me that all the foreign coaches that wanted to work in the US should attend their conference. Only that way you will be able to get to know some coaches or clubs that might invite you to work in that country.
Many of these events are also excellent networking opportunities and even privileged locations for you to seek out your “mentor.”
Having had a lot of experience in setting up training programs, I could not fail to point out to you the content that you should be looking for at this stage. So:
- The History of Soccer: To know the general features about the history of soccer and its coaching. It will help you to better understand the whole process;
- Learning and motor development: To understand the process of development, maturation, growth and learning of the human being
- Didactics applied to Sport / Soccer: To understand how to teach the sport and some basic strategies of pedagogy;
- Coaching Theory and Methodology: To understand how the training process works and its impact on the development of the athlete;
- Psychology and Leadership: some basic information about the psychological aspects of the athlete and some tools that will allow you to become an efficient leader;
- Rules of the game: Here, I recommend an advanced knowledge since the coach cannot give his athletes an understanding that he does not master the rules of the game.
Watch a lot of Soccer
If you like Soccer, and you should if you want to become a coach, this point for you will be very easy! I understand that is very important that you watch as many Soccer matchs or trainings as you can (live and on tv). Obviously you should privilege the live games because only then you can get an overview of the whole game. At this stage it is important to observe the game as a whole before analyzing its specific components. If you do not have the opportunity to watch live matches, you can always watch thru television through the channels you have available.
I also recommend that, although they are already tools for advanced analysis, you can try out platforms such as Wyscout or Instat where, in addition to being able to watch soccer games from all over the world, they already allow you to filter specific game actions. Some of them have free trial plans.
Find a mentor
This point is, in my opinion, the most important. The most current trends in pedagogy and learning emphasize the importance of mentoring. They say that this type of learning is much more effective and lasting. So, look for someone who has already traveled the route you want to travel and who guides you in the right direction, thus avoiding making mistakes or driving accidents.
This mentor can be your physical education teacher, a university teacher, your team coach, a known coach or simply someone you recognize as competent in this matter.
Be sure to follow this step because as I said, it will help you a lot to reach your goal faster.
It is also important that you understand that step-by-step compliance will allow you to be more apt to be accepted in the second – certification. In many countries that I know of, the previous, if relevant, experience of the candidate is required or valued.
Described the first step, I suggest you get your hands on the job because there is no stopping you from starting right now! This step is up to you!
In the next article, I will describe, in detail, the second step: look for certification! See you then!
Have you missed the first video? Here it is: “How to become a Soccer Coach?”