A Call for PDP coaches

The game belongs to the players; not the coaches.  For far too long, the shouting, overly critical coach has been the accepted model in youth coaching.  It doesn’t work.  If you think it does, try the following experiment…

The  next time you’re at work trying to do something difficult or new:

  1. ask a supervisor to stand beside you and scream instructions while you attempt to complete the task
  2. ask your supervisor to pay close attention and to shout even louder when you’re close to success
  3. when you fail, ask your supervisor to loudly explain what you should have done so everyone nearby knows you failed

Sounds great, right? It’s not all doom and gloom, though.  The bright side in this crazy experiment is that your supervisor gets to show the world just how much they know about the difficult or new task you just attempted.

As absurd as this is, we’re perfectly fine letting this happen to our 5-12 year old kids when they play youth sports.  While it’s certainly not the only reason, it does help to explain why 70% of kids in the USA stop playing sports by the age of 12.

If you are an interested coach and you really don’t see much wrong with the previously described coaching stylke OR you think that you’re the most important person on the field (and you can prove it), please STOP READING NOW.  Decatur Soccer’s Player Development Program is not for you.


PDP Coaching – The Big Picture

To make the PDP a success and have what we learn feed into future seasons, we need coaches who are willing to embrace the certainty that there is a better way to teach kids to love the beautiful game.  We need player-centered coaches who:

  • see mistakes as important in learning
  • see the risk that comes from a player trying something new as completely acceptable
  • are excited to see kids learn and grow in the game
  • will value creativity and intelligence over the fast and strong
  • want to learn how to create the optimal learning environment for youth players

While PDP coaches are learning to be better coaches, Decatur Soccer will be learning even more from PDP coaches.  Because of Decatur Soccer’s close association with Horst Wein, what we learn will not only improve what we do going forward, but it will also help similar efforts around the country and even the world.   Because of this, PDP coaches will be expected to follow a weekly curriculum designed for their specific age group.  During the season, we want the PDP coaches to provide honest feedback about WHAT they believe is working or not working as well as the reason WHY.

PDP Coaching Details

This is a new program. There is nothing to copy. There will be some bumps along the way.  Because it is new, there will be a little more time and effort involved with learning the FUNiño coaching methods.  Our goal, however, is to create a system that maximizes your enjoyment as a youth coach and change the way you see the game as a coach and teacher.

  • We ask that you set aside 7 hours over the course of the season for in-person training.  Most of this will be done over three 90 minute sessions slated for August 11, 12 and 14th.
  • The first PDP training session is Tuesday, August 19th.
  • There are two age divisions: U9 and U11.
  • There are 3 training groups in each age division.
  • Each training group has 9 players that will train together.
  • Each training group will have 2-3 coaches, depending on demand.  The group coaches are partner coaches.
  • Every coach will get the official FUNiño coaching manual written by Horst Wein along with custom session materials.
  • Each training group will be issues two portable goals and other equipment.
  • Training days will be Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday – just like the Rec program.  The practice times will be the same as Rec as well.
  • During tournament/competition days, each training group will be divided into two teams of 4-5 players.

This is a completely separate program from the Decatur Soccer Rec program and you may not participate in both programs at the same time.  It’s not feasible due to scheduling.

If you are interested in being a Player Development Program coach or you have any questions, please contact Walt Stewart, Director of Coaching, at doc@decaturyouthsoccer.com or by calling him at 256-417-6152..

If there is unexpected demand to participate, coaches will be selected on a first come, first served basis.