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Coaches at the 2018 Coaches Breakfast

Coaches Breakfast 2018


Belle River Soccer is always on the look out for new coaches for our House League and our Travel program.
If you are interested, please email:

Each team can have a coaching staff of:

One HEAD Coach
One Assistant Coach
One Team Manager

The Head Coach is in charge of all practices, game decisions, substitutions and development of the players.
The Assistant Coach helps the head coach in the areas he/she is needed.

The Team Manager communicates with the parents, organizes freezies, half time snacks, reminds parents about schedule, picture day, etc..

All coaching staff are invited to a coaches appreciation banquet.

All head coaches receive a free complimentary coaches shirt.

1. You’ll get to spend more time with your child

Your child might only be 4-years-old now but there will come a time that she will naturally start to spend more time with friends and teammates and less time hanging out with mom and dad. Coaching her team is a wonderful way to keep a strong connection.

This has been a highlight for Rod Demars, 2016 Coach of the Year, who says that throughout his many years of coaching his twin daughters’ travel soccer team, he’s been able to be part of something that takes a lot of his daughters’ time and energy in a sport that they all love. Forging fun and happy memories together, as well as seeing his daughters grow up outside of their home and family environment, has been priceless, says Rod. He points out that coaching the same group of girls for the last seven years has also let him be a part of the growth of those kids, too, and that is an experience he would never trade.

2. You’ll expand your social network (and I don’t just mean your Facebook friends)

Let’s face it, it’s not always easy for busy adults to make new friends. But getting involved in our kids’ teams can be an introduction to like-minded families who value physical activity and sometimes life-long bonds are forged. As an assistant soccer coach, I made wonderful friends that have become mentors to me in my running and great go-tos for parenting and other advice. We have travelled as families together. We’ve celebrated holidays together. We’ve even been godparents for each other’s children. And who doesn’t need a new friend (or a potential carpool backup for other events)?

3. You’ll develop new skills

At the end of our most recent season, a head coach in the soccer league I convene told me that while he had only wanted to be an assistant coach, being a head coach had forced him to learn more about the sport. He gained a whole new appreciation for soccer and ended up loving the experience. Many leagues offer clinics to teach the coaches about their sport and about coaching techniques. It’s a fantastic and important thing to never stop learning. I believe it’s what keeps us young and helps us to relate to our children as they develop new skills. Plus it shows your kids that you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone, which is a really powerful thing for a parent to role model.

4. You’ll learn and re-learn life lessons

Many coaches have told me that while they know the importance of instilling positive values in their players, they themselves learn a lot of life lessons along the way. Jordan Elliott, a house league soccer coach of 8- to 10-year-olds, pointed out that while coaching can sometimes test your patience, it also develops it. Patience, along with fair play, responsibility, having fun, leadership, and problem solving are just some of the valuable lessons taught and learned in team sports. All the coaches that I have spoken with have reflected on having to adapt their teaching styles to fit the personalities of their players. Skills such as effective communication and developing self-confidence are tools that they have taken from the rinks and fields and used in their workplaces and in their homes.

5. You’ll get a work out, too (and be a good role model)

Nothing tests your athletic endurance like trying to keep up with a field — or rink — full of 7-year-old athletes! Coaches get the benefits of working out with their players at practices and find as the kids’ skills and fitness levels improve, theirs do too. I remember a few times when I’ve had to step to the side of the field pretending that I wanted to “get a look at how the players are moving the ball” when I actually needed to catch my own breath. There’s the added plus of being an active role model but it’s also really good for your own health and well-being to get out there and move.

6. You’ll come away with a sense of pride and accomplishment

Daryn Everett, who has coached his son from tiny tots u12, says that he is “exhilarated” by the joy on a player’s face when they reach a goal they didn’t necessarily believe was possible. Everett recalls a season game where his players were down two goals at then end of the first half. The coach called the boys together and seeing their deflated and tired faces, told them that they were proud of them and were happy to go home with the result they had. The boys felt the pressure lift and huddled themselves together with a loud cheer. Going on to score 3 goals, the boys eventually went on to win the game and later the day of champs. 

Goals don’t always need to be that huge … making a good pass for the first time can be just as rewarding as scoring the winning goal and to a coach who has worked tirelessly on helping that player reach that milestone. It’s that “simple smile,” says Everett, that keeps him coming back year after year.

7. You’ll have fun

The number one reason kids play a sport is because it’s fun. And honestly, so is coaching. Getting to know the kids, helping them learn, seeing them gain confidence, and taking risks is part of what makes it so great. But you’ll also get to run around and play and that is, truly, fun at any age.

If after all this I still haven’t convinced you to try coaching but you have time to devote to a team, assistant coaches and team managers are always needed. Parents can also participate in a variety of roles that require less of a time commitment. I’m lucky enough to work with parents who help book field permits, order uniforms, source out trophies and medals, and bring snacks for kids after the games. The opportunities are endless.

Next time you have the chance to take on the role of coach or any other position in your child’s athletics, don’t shy away. You may find that the benefits for you are just as rewarding as they are for your children.


There’s a reason sport films often feature the clichéd coach pep talk — you know the one, where the speech starts out quietly, full of motivational words, and invariably ends with all the players screaming as they run towards their victory. It’s because that’s the part of coaching that encompasses what it is to be a great coach: motivational, inspiring, passionate; the heart and soul of the team.

An article in the Huffington Post (see below) beautifully highlights the 35 things that make a brilliant coach. Each point is worthy, and while there are some listed that are specific to coaches, when you break it down, what emerges is that what makes a great coach is also what makes a great parent: listening, respect, compassion, engagement, empathy, humour, patience, communication, a positive nature, and flexibility.

Most importantly, what is not on the list is how many times their team is victorious, or the number of all-star athletes on their roster. Just as you wouldn’t call yourself a bad father because your child is having difficulty with math, a strong coach doesn’t consider herself a failure because Billy still can’t score a breakaway.That coach would just try, as a parent would, to keep Billy motivated, feeling good about himself, and thinking how to teach her player a new way to sharpen his game.

Great coaches aren’t just found in Disney films and they shouldn’t have to look like Matthew McConnaughey, Josh Lucas, or Denzel Washington to be valued. It’s time to recognize them for all they do to help our kids become better athletes and better people.

Brilliant coaches…

1. Cherish the child over the athlete. Brilliant coaches know that being an athlete is just a small part of being a child. Brilliant coaches never do anything to advance the athlete at the risk of the child.

2. Treat their, and all other, athletes with respect. Brilliant coaches treat all of the kids in the gym, on the field, court etc. with total respect. No matter what.

3. Communicate with parents. Brilliant coaches understand that parents are not the enemy and, in fact, are an important ally in the development of the athlete.

4. Listen to their athletes concerns. Brilliant coaches don’t tune out athletes worries, fears or mentions of injury.

5. Connect before they direct. Brilliant coaches understand the importance of emotional connection. You matter. You belong. You are important to me. Not you the athlete; rather, you the person. Our most fundamental need is safety. When we feel safe we can trust and when we trust we can learn. Brilliant coaches know that this foundation of trust is essential.

6. Begin with the end in mind. Brilliant coaches keep their focus on the big picture of the goal of the athlete. They have a plan, but are flexible as they are aware the road to success is filled with twists and turns.

7. Are obsessive about fundamentals. Brilliant coaches understand the value of fundamentals as the core of all skills. The stronger the core, the more successful the athlete. Legendary basketball coach John Wooden would spend his first practice with his players instructing them how to put on socks. Correct wearing of socks prevents blisters, and feet absent of blisters can attend basketball practice.

8. Break skills into chunks. Brilliant coaches don’t simply teach a cartwheel. They break that cartwheel into several key sub-skills and instruct on those skills first before putting them together to perform the cartwheel. Brilliant coaches know that by isolating the individual elements that are woven together to achieve the skill athletes will succeed faster.

9. Embrace athletes’ struggle. Brilliant coaches understand that learning is a curve. Like muscle needs to break down before building up, athletes need to struggle to push forward. A brilliant coach doesn’t panic when this struggle happens.

10. Make the boring interesting. Brilliant coaches connect the tedious to the goal and make games out of those things that can be counted. They issue challenges and create missions. The goal is to make these dull, but necessary moments more engaging.

11. State corrections in the positive. Brilliant coaches say “do this” not “don’t’ do this.” Don’t bend your arms is less effective feedback than “push your arms straight.”

12. Find the bright spots and build from there. Brilliant coaches are aware of weaknesses and try to improve them to meet minimal standard but spend much more focus on the areas that an athlete excels. Trying to turn a strong pitcher into a better batter is less effective than trying to make him better at his curve ball.

13. Don’t try to break bad habits; rather, they build new habits. Brilliant coaches know that the most effective way to break a bad feedback loop is to replace one habit for another.

14. Give feedback in short, clear spurts that are precise and action oriented. No long speeches. John Wooden was once followed for a whole season so his motivational techniques could be studied. Wooden’s average “speech” was four sentences. Furthermore, brilliant coaches do not engage in observational coaching. (“Get your arms up.” Up where? “Your knees are bent.” Tell me how to fix that.) Concrete feedback (“Your arms need to be right behind your ears.” And “Squeeze this muscle and this muscle in your leg to make it straight.”) is given instead.

15. Are careful about how they measure success. Brilliant coaches do not use scores or win-loss records as their sole measure of success. Brilliant coaches understand that doing so can erode the long term development of the athlete. Brilliant coaches instead develop competencies for the long run, even if that means sacrificing success at the beginning of journey. If you had to choose, would you rather have your child be the strongest student in the first grade or in the twelfth grade?

16. Use the right mixture of attainable and reach goals. Brilliant coaches have zoned in on the sweet spot of challenge.

17. Keep momentum moving forward. Brilliant coaches understand that objects in motion stay in motion, so there is not a lot of waiting around time in practice.

18. Constantly are seeking continuing education. Brilliant coaches never believe they know it all or that they cannot improve themselves. Quite the opposite. Brilliant coaches read journals, articles, books and scour the internet for training ideas. They attend professional workshops and seek mentorships from other coaches.

19. Create, instead of finding, talent. Brilliant coaches appreciate natural aptitude but know that it can only take an athlete so far. Furthermore, brilliant coaches are humble enough to admit that they are not perfect at predicting success, so they just get in there and work. Finally, brilliant coaches concede that extraordinary talent is not a fair assessment of their value as a coach; rather, they measure their coaching efficacy by taking an athlete who is less gifted and helping that athlete succeed.

20. Observe intently. Brilliant coaches are always trying to figure out what makes people tick so they can better reach them.

21. Understand interpersonal relationships of the team are important. Team building and bonding is not a waste of time but an essential element for success.

22. Use imagery in coaching. Brilliant coaches paint pictures in the athletes’ minds. “Jump as high as you can,” becomes “Push the floor away from you like a rocket blasting into space and reach that rocket to the stars.”

23. Separate learning from practice. Brilliant coaches understand that practice begins after the athletes learn. As a result, they do not have athlete “practicing” something they have not yet learned so as to avoid creating bad habits. Learning takes place with close observation and direct instruction.

24. Focus the athlete on what to do, not what to avoid. Brilliant coaches tell their athletes things like “Shoulders squared and body tight” versus saying “Don’t fall.”

25. Focus on the multiple ways of learning. Brilliant coaches use auditory, visual and kinesthetic modes of teaching each skill, acknowledging that people learn differently.

26. Understand child development. Brilliant coaches have a working knowledge of the milestones of childhood and tailor their actions and expectations to meet the athletes where they are.

27. End practice before athlete is exhausted. Brilliant coaches know that bad habits and short cuts ensue when athletes are drained.

28. Give plenty of time for new skills to develop. Brilliant coaches allow at least eight weeks for athletes to learn a new skill. As the athlete progresses in the sport that time frame will actually get longer, not shorter, as the skills are increasingly complex.

29. Use positive coaching techniques. Brilliant coaches do not yell, belittle, threaten or intimidate. They do not need to bully to get results. While short term success my occur under such pressure filled environments, a brilliant coach knows that in the long run these techniques will backfire and are dangerous to the development of the child.

30. Have a growth mindset. Brilliant coaches believe that our basic skills can be developed through dedication and hard work. They reinforce this with their athletes over and over so their athletes feel motivated and are productive.

31. Know what they don’t know. Brilliant coaches are not afraid to admit that they don’t have all the answers. They do not allow their ego to prevent them from getting additional help, training or even suggesting to an athlete’s family that the athlete needs to move to a more experienced coach.

32. Educate their athletes. Brilliant coaches go beyond instructing their athletes, instead educating them in a age-appropriate ways regarding the purpose of and objective of various drills, skill sequences and conditioning circuits.

33. Have clear rules and logical consequences. Brilliant coaches do not keep their athletes guessing with respect to the standards of conduct or the result that can be expected for breeches of those standards. Rules are applied justly without shame to all athletes, including the stars.

34. Understand that fun is an essential element in training, no matter how elite an athlete becomes. The number one reason that athletes quit sports, even sports that they love and in which they are succeeding, is because they are no longer having fun. Fun is not a frivolous sentiment but is the foundation of an athletes’ healthy commitment to a sport.

35. End practice on a positive note. Brilliant coaches always find a way to seek the positive at the end of even the most awful workout. Even if it is as simple as “Tomorrow is a new day,” brilliant coaches know that both success and failure are temporary states.