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Author Topic: Questions you should ask the coach  (Read 2105 times)

sounderfan

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Questions you should ask the coach
« on: March 15, 2017, 09:50:39 AM »

The new OFF THE PITCH article is a really good one:

https://goalwashington.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/off-the-pitch-questions-you-should-ask-the-coach/

When my sons were playing soccer, I hated tryout season. More than tax season. More than any other time of the year. I detested the stress and insanity around it all. Clubs would vie for players by scheduling multiple tryouts in a day and over a weekend resulting in players attending more tryouts in a weekend than they would play games at an intense tournament. They would often demand that players attend every one of their tryouts to have a shot at a team, which could be up to three tryouts in less than a week for a single club. How can a player stay fresh and show his/her best in that type of situation?

So, I came up with my own 3-4 question information-gathering interview for coaches who might coach my kids. Quite frankly, I was seriously less invested in the club as compared to finding a good coach for my sons.

What did I ask?



ForTheKids

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 09:59:06 AM »

Good questions.

Good luck with that. 
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tripleplay

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 10:27:34 AM »

A parent asking those questions will come across as a. Stupid and b. A pain in the ass. Soccer isn't about you. It is about your kid, and your questions should mostly directed at him/her. Does it feel right? Are you pressuring the kid to do what you want, and not what is best for her? Parents behaving badly is a lot more common than coaches doing so.

Legitimate questions are things like when, where, and how much the team practices? What tourneys does the team attend? etc. i.e. Logistical questions that are the parents' responsibility to deal with. Asking a coach to answer a bunch of BS questions to determine if the coach' idea of political correctness aligns with Daddy's and Mommy's? A depressing sign of the times.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 10:33:46 AM by tripleplay »
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sounderfan

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 10:41:49 AM »

From the column: Most coaches were surprised that I interviewed them. One coach took the time to write me an incredibly long email with detailed answers to each of the questions. My son played for him, and it was a good experience for all of us. Other coaches struggled with the answers. Some even tried to hide their sense of offense that I would even dare ask for such information.

The key was that I made sure never to lobby for my sons in asking the questions. The purpose was information-gathering only, not showing off my sons’ skills. My kids had to do that on the tryout field and earn their spot on a team themselves.

Instructor32

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2017, 11:55:01 AM »

TP - If a coach can't or won't answer those basic questions, I would run the other direction with my kid. The article must have hit somebody's button in a good way because it has been reprinted in a couple of the US Youth Soccer newsletters lately.
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bubbasaurus

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2017, 01:04:23 PM »

I had the opportunity to referee in the Washington Cup over the weekend and to watch some high school games yesterday. Based on my experience watching the coaches and the players, I wouldn't let me DS play for two of the coaches. Unfortunately most of us don't get a chance to get to have these observations before tryouts.
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tripleplay

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2017, 01:29:08 PM »

I had the opportunity to referee in the Washington Cup over the weekend and to watch some high school games yesterday. Based on my experience watching the coaches and the players, I wouldn't let me DS play for two of the coaches. Unfortunately most of us don't get a chance to get to have these observations before tryouts.
There is ample opportunity to find out what coaches are like. Especially for players of HS age. Stupid parent tricks aren't necessary.

The reality is that (1) often players simply don't have much choice (e.g. exactly zero if you are talking about HS soccer) and  (2) whether players/parents are happy with a coach largely boils down to (a) is the player playing when and where they want to and (b) is the team winning enough. Not to excuse bad coaching or to say that coaching is completely irrelevant, but at the end of the day soccer is and should be about having fun playing the sport with people you like. Obsessing about the coach is a newbie parent blunder.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 01:37:19 PM by tripleplay »
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ouch

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2017, 09:59:31 PM »

I thought the questions in the article were a little awkward... I couldnt see myself asking a series of questions prior to confirming a spot after tryouts.

But as we go into tryouts, I'm a bit perplexed with the whole situation. 

Some clubs like Eastside FC still do not have their coaching slate for 2017-2018 out.  While I don't have a pre-set list of questions for a coach, I do like to watch the coach and maybe ask a few questions just to get a feel for him/her.  What if the coach is not the best fit for your DK? Why shouldn't I have the opportunity to determine whether a coach at XFire, ISC, or Eagle Claw is a better fit for my DK?

I understand what you are saying TP, but I also don't want to spend $2500 for DK to be coached by someone inexperienced with young kids (DS is a 2009) or is a "win at all cost" coach. 

We had a terrible experience in rec with a parent coach that enjoyed screaming at 5 year olss and joystick coaching during the games (3 years ago).
 
A relatively poor first premier season with a coach that had little if any experience coaching kids younger than 13 years old and really struggled with a 2008 "B" team (he left the pitch in the middle of a game- just one example of many... He wasn't a bad guy, just didn't have the patience to be coaching 6-8 year olds.  That was 2 years ago)

And a great second premier season (this last season) with a fabulous coach who knew just how to work with a 2008 "B" team.

I think we are at a club with the right "philosophy" but shouldn't I be concerned about who will be coach next year?
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tripleplay

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2017, 07:39:37 AM »

It's your choice to care about what you want to care about. And I clearly agree that it is more of a challenge to find out about a new coach coaching a young age group than it is about coaches of High Schoolers. Your approach sounds reasonable.

BUT I firmly believe that bad parents and bad kids are far more likely to be responsible for bad outcomes in youth soccer than bad coaches are. BTW, studies show that winning in youth sports correlates highly with playing the following year. Coaches who care about winning are usually the most popular ones.

I feel sorry for kids who are at the mercy of over-involved parents obsessed with micro-managing their kids lives, especially over irrelevancies such as soccer political correctness.
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sounderfan

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2017, 09:36:59 AM »

TP - If a coach can't or won't answer those basic questions, I would run the other direction with my kid. The article must have hit somebody's button in a good way because it has been reprinted in a couple of the US Youth Soccer newsletters lately.

Yes. Top-5 for the year in views at goalWA.net.

tripleplay

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 08:31:44 AM »

TP - If a coach can't or won't answer those basic questions, I would run the other direction with my kid. The article must have hit somebody's button in a good way because it has been reprinted in a couple of the US Youth Soccer newsletters lately.

Yes. Top-5 for the year in views at goalWA.net.
And many teams have toxic parents on the sidelines. This sense of entitlement is not a positive and doesn't help your kids. There is a huge opportunity cost - effort spent on BS is less effort spent on making real improvements in the sport. People like the author will never accept that they aren't the center of attention - that it really should be about the youth.

Particularly ironic is the fact that the author notes a valid and correctable flaw in the system - overlapping tryout times. Her solution is to harass coaches with a bunch of BS and then write articles about it???
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 09:01:50 AM by tripleplay »
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2Shortie

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2017, 04:49:15 PM »

As long as parents are expected to fork over hundreds of dollars a month for their child to play competitive soccer, parents absolutely have every right to ask questions.  If you were going to sign your child up for ballet would you not want to know where the instructor trained and with who?  Would you not want to know their technique?  What about gymnastics?  Lacrosse?  Why is soccer any different?

Some clubs are better than others when posting background information on their coaches such as where they have played, their license, etc. but this still only tells you so much.  There are a lot of variables to consider, a few of which have already been pointed out, such as the age of the player and the coach's experience with that age group.

However I am not sure I would ask all of my questions on the day of tryouts or when the coach calls to offer a spot on the team.  If I were a newbie parent or a parent with a child looking to break into a new team, I would try to do as much research on my own before tryouts even happened.  Contact the DOC or contact the coach directly.  Find out about open practices prior to tryouts.  Talk to parents on the sidelines at state cup games.

But absolutely get answers to any questions that you have- there is no such thing as a stupid question.
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merenguemom

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 08:23:32 PM »

Interesting quote from Christian Pulisic's mother on parent's role in "picking" coaches:

"I think (parents being in control) is important because sometimes parents are like, ‘I want my kid to be on the best team.’ If you have a coach that’s not a good role model in the best team, why would you really want your child being in that environment? I’ve seen that over and over again and I would refuse to put my son in an environment where someone is being negative. That to me is unacceptable. Parents do have to step up and say, ‘You know what? You are not going to be on the best team, but you are going to be around better people.’ Really, that’s a life lesson that’s going to be more important later on….We had to step away because it was just blaming the ref, and blaming this and just being negative to other children. To me, that’s awful. They are kids. You can’t do that. It’s a team game at a young level. Nobody needs that."
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tripleplay

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 10:02:02 PM »

As long as parents are expected to fork over hundreds of dollars a month for their child to play competitive soccer, parents absolutely have every right to ask questions.  If you were going to sign your child up for ballet would you not want to know where the instructor trained and with who?  Would you not want to know their technique?  What about gymnastics?  Lacrosse?  Why is soccer any different?
The problem, of course, is that parents generally have zero clue what makes a good coach, or even a good coach for their kid.

Gymnastics coaches are notoriously mean. There is a reason. You are asking kids to do things that seem risky (do a flip and land on a 4 inch beam). Fear of the coach is a necessary motivator to overcome those fears.

Parents querying a potential coach is 95% about making the parent feel important. But parent egos in my experience rarely need artificial boosting. Truth is, a playing time policy is good if it means your kid plays, and bad if he doesn't. But the same policy can produce different outcomes depending on the roster. When you go from being a starter on a U11 team with 3 subs to being a bench player on a U16 team with 7 subs, the experience for the player is radically different. A super coach isn't going to seem so super in the latter case. Players and parents really need to look for a situation that works, and promises to work into the future. The coach is just one piece.

If you do things right, a "bad" coach is a speed bump.
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ouch

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Re: Questions you should ask the coach
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2017, 12:25:36 AM »

TP - If a coach can't or won't answer those basic questions, I would run the other direction with my kid. The article must have hit somebody's button in a good way because it has been reprinted in a couple of the US Youth Soccer newsletters lately.

Yes. Top-5 for the year in views at goalWA.net.
And many teams have toxic parents on the sidelines. This sense of entitlement is not a positive and doesn't help your kids. There is a huge opportunity cost - effort spent on BS is less effort spent on making real improvements in the sport. People like the author will never accept that they aren't the center of attention - that it really should be about the youth.

Particularly ironic is the fact that the author notes a valid and correctable flaw in the system - overlapping tryout times. Her solution is to harass coaches with a bunch of BS and then write articles about it???

Curious if anyone has been in a situation where a coach answered a question wrong in an interview and went in another direction.  The situation seems a bit exaggerated. 

Had the coach not had a good answer to the expectations of parents, we should run for the hills? Pretty subjective question.

I would have some deal breakers- more along the line of what Pulisic's mom referenced.  But I can't see asking questions in an interview after tryouts and coming to any conclusions.  I really would need to see how the coach worked with the kids.  We've seen some clubs/teams that follow the lord of the flies philosophy.  My opinion- that's a coaching issue at age 8.  Rotten kid, kick him out. Unfortunately since I don't know the coaching slate going into tryouts it will be a bit of a crap shoot.  I can only glean so much from a two day tryout.  Hopefully it's a coach we already know. 

Figure if we end up with a less than spectacular coach next year we can chalk it up as an expensive life lesson.  The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows... Take the lemons and make lemonade to sell during the games as a Fundraiser for a different club the following year.  However if we end up with a miserable coach...
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 12:44:13 AM by ouch »
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