How do you know if your child is having fun at soccer? Many parents will profess that they look at their child’s face and can tell if they are smiling, others may ask them ‘was that fun?’ More astute parents may determine if their child is engaged in the session, or the worst-case scenario, if they won in their game. However, there is another, more obvious and potentially more important way to judge this question, watch their coach?

Is the coach having fun? Is the coach engaged with the players, encouraging them and guiding the activities? Do they enjoy being present with the players, if so then the chances are your child will be having fun. Think of your favourite teacher, was it the one who did not engage but scold? Or the one who made the lesson fun and interesting, they connected with the students. Effective coaches coach players first, not the sport…

“a coach should approach his work like a craftsman, not a shop steward.” (Velasco).

So next time you attend practice, ask the question – is the coach having fun??


In a recent presentation to a group of triathlon coaches, the need to coach the sport was placed on the back-burner. Many coaches feel the way to success is by gaining diploma’s and podium based athletes. However the way to develop successful athletes is not the sport but the support you offer. The most important thing for any coach, at any level can do for their athlete, is to believe in them.

As coaches we often feel measured by our knowledge base, but if anyone reflects on their best coach, it is not always the most knowledgeable or successful coach, but the one they connected with the most. The one who was passionate and compassionate, who gave simple illustrations and instructions, and was always there regardless of the outcome.

These qualities aren’t taught on many of the coaching certification programs, but learnt through experience and a desire to connect with athletes. A quote often used is that every coach should have the goal of never being an athlete’s last coach. What does that look like?

What are the qualities of a successful coach? “good coaches inspire their players to do more than they think they can” (Competitiveedge.com).

The need for knowledge is not being challenged but more the manner with which knowledge is conveyed. Effective coaches communicate with their athletes, understand their needs and wants and figure a game plan based upon the athlete achieving success – once an athlete believes in their coach the limits are boundless. It can be seen that many elite athletes are driven by a fear, often the fear of disappointing the one torch that shines believe in their ability. This fear is not driven by discipline but one of mutual respect and believe.

So the message to any aspiring coach is first and foremost, know who you are coaching before what you are coaching. Consider methods to engage with your athlete’s, that inspire them to strive and achieve success on their terms.


Sport psychology and mental skills coaching are no longer the domain of elite athlete`s – but accessible and supportive for all.
Whether you are a recreational athlete looking to maintain your motivation and enhance your fitness,
an age group athlete striving for a personal best, or a junior athlete who is looking to take the game to the next level. Performance planning, confidence building and anxiety management are a few of the many areas Sport Psychology can enhance sporting performance.

Email John at info@clubbsport.ca
(587) 435 5611