Home National Stories Laila Al-Lamadani Provides Tips for Parents New to Coaching Youth Soccer

Laila Al-Lamadani Provides Tips for Parents New to Coaching Youth Soccer

Laila Al-Lamadani

As a single working mother, Laila Al-Lamadani understands that parents already have a lot on their plate, so those who are willing to volunteer for coaching their child’s youth sports team deserve a lot of extra credit. Understanding that first-time jitters are common amongst new volunteer coaches, Laila Al-Lamadani wanted to share a few tips that helped her throughout her journey as a soccer coach for her son.

This article is aimed at first-time coaches, which is typically right around kindergarten for the soccer players. While it definitely helps to already have a strong understanding of the game, a lot of coaching really comes down to organization and attitude. Laila Al-Lamadani does credit her time on her co-ed soccer team for keeping her in shape through running around with the kids. New coaches can look forward to the physical health benefits of cardiovascular exercise. A lot of parent coaches will need to act out the drills several times before the kids fully understand what they are being asked to do in practice, so it will help to have the lung capacity and ability to perform them repeatedly.

Any new coach should start their preparations by understanding the rules of the league. Most organizations will have a parent go through a background check and then, once they are approved to coach, they will be given the information of their players. It helps to make a positive introduction and encourage other parents to get involved as well. While only one or two assistant coaches are necessary, having more adults to oversee the children is better.

In recent years, many different youth sports leagues have leaned on the help of mobile apps. Certain apps can provide a place for parents to see the team schedule and get all the latest information on weather and practice schedules. Laila Al-Lamadani recommends utilizing an app that can not only keep parents informed on games and practices, but also assign snack duties. These apps are also a great way for parents to share any special food allergy information so that each kid can participate in a postgame snack without alienating anyone with dietary restrictions. If the soccer league takes place outdoors, there will occasionally be weather concerns. By directing all parents to the app, no coach will need to answer 20 separate text messages asking for a weather update. Also, an app is a great way to keep a headcount for each game, or to tell parents what their child needs to have for each practice. It’s best for a coach to know how many players they will be working with throughout a game, and every player should at least have their own soccer ball and water bottle, each marked with their name.

When the first practice occurs, the new head coach should set the expectations for the season. There are usually some kids that have never played an organized sport before. This lack of experience may come with fear or anxiety, so it’s a great time for the coach to outline that players will gain a better understanding of the game, develop some basic skills, and have a lot of fun by the end of the season. The more positive a coach is, the better they will be received by their team. Laila Al-Lamadani encourages coaches to realize that they are always leading by example. Teams take on the personality of their coach. When they see the person in charge being happy and encouraging, it sets a great precedent for the entire season. This sentiment should be maintained throughout the season, which can be achieved by treating the referees with respect and bringing players in for helpful one-on-one instruction.

Those who have never led soccer drills before should know that YouTube is their friend. The soccer community is filled with a number of people who have built huge followings by simply posting their practice drills online. Watching these videos can provide countless ideas for new coaches. Laila Al-Lamadani recommends starting with the basics of soccer dribbling and going from there. At the earliest stages, all the kids will probably run at the ball at once. As the season develops, the goal should be to get the kids to recognize spacing, positioning, and when to pass the ball to their teammates.

Ultimately, soccer coaching can be a great way to bond with a child and ensure that they participate in physical activities, with the added bonus of developing social skills through gaining friendships along the way.