How Can You Tell A Good Coach From a Bad One?

In the current issue of the NSCAA Soccer Journal, Editor, Dr. Jay Martin discusses what he sees as the difference between a "Coach" and a "Trainer".  His thought is that a trainer can possibly set up a drill/exercise or even plan a training session, but can't really coach that session.  Whereas the coach can set up the same session but then also coach the session by providing coaching points to the players.  The coach will observe the session and teach the players while the trainer will observe the session but not really have the knowledge of how to effect it or teach the players from within it.

I agree with Dr. Martin's premise, but take it further.  I believe this can also describe the situation of the difference between a bad coach and a good coach.  And to take it even further, the motivational aspect can also be a determining factor.  A good coach can also motivate his players to do well during training sessions and to put forth maximum effort by creating an environment where the players enjoy what they are doing.

I've coached in the U.S. for almost 20 years and for the majority of my training sessions, there have been other coaches conducting training sessions with their teams on the other half of the field or the adjacent field.  So I have seen all kinds of coaches from those that stand in the middle of the field holding a cup of coffee while screaming at 10 year olds to run their laps around the field faster, to those who do an excellent job of setting up meaningful drills and teaching their players within the context of their training sessions.

I also saw coaches set up what seemed to be perfectly good training sessions, with talented players but whose teams always seemed to under perform.  This always left me puzzled and it wasn't until many years had passed that it dawned on me.  These coaches, set up perfectly good training sessions but either didn't know how to coach the rel event coaching points within that training session or didn't have the ability to motivate their players and generate enthusiasm.

The enthusiasm point also carries over into games.  A coach that can create an enthusiastic environment at his training sessions, is also more likely to see this enthusiasm continue with his players during games.

I guess the bottom line is that you can't tell if someone is a good coach just by how he can set up drills and exercises and organize his training sessions.

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