As we go into 2016 it is appropriate that we look at our clubs and see that it has the basic essentials which make a club “A Club.”
Many clubs are nothing more than a collection of teams which wear the same uniforms, use the same logo and playing facilities but there is nothing which distinguishes the organization as a club. There is no connection between the teams, little cooperative communication between the coaching staff, no technical hallmarks, no club mission and no club culture.
Structurally a “Club” can go in several governance directions but should have some kind of Committee or Board, at the top, which develops by - laws and runs the finances of the club.
Reporting to this committee can be a Director of Coaching or Technical Director. The Technical Director (TD) should be an experienced coach who has USSoccer credentials and is familiar with guidance and directives from USSoccer. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America also has outstanding coaching education programs which are accepted throughout the country. The Technical Director is responsible for developing the players AND the coaching staff.
The TD should have the support of a Technical Committee. Technical Committees consist of staff coaches representing different age groups and genders within the club – and don’t forget to include a goalkeeping coach!
The Technical Committee meets to shape the Technical ID of the club and the club culture. This ID would consist of numerous considerations ranging from systems of play to important technical skills, to (and some clubs do have this) a standard club warmup which ALL teams use. I recently talked with the fitness coach at an English Premier League club who has introduced a club wide standard warm up which has almost eliminated soft tissue injuries at all age levels.
Developing a club culture is a massive topic and not always easy to pinpoint…but includes a wide range of subjects from characteristics of team captains to club glossary (words we use) to parental behavior at games to the introduction of player assessments.
Whatever direction you want to take your club in 2016 here are some markers which are common amongst good youth developmental clubs;
Age group and gender Coordinators.
Club ID (This is how we want to play and conduct ourselves.)
Club Charter (By - Laws and regulations for parents and players.)
Integrated coaching Staff (e.g. Coach of 11 year old team knows about players in 10 and 12 year old teams) and meets with coaches of those age groups frequently. They, to some degree, follow an age appropriate Technical curriculum.
Hope this provokes some thought in your club and leads to better integration along with player and coach development.
Have a happy 2016 and enjoy your coaching.
Jeff Tipping - Admiral Technical Advisor