Karl Dewazien (www.fundamentalsoccer.com) recently asked his \”Kontributors and followers what are some of the best attributes for youth coaches. My response to his inquiry was, “Coaches must be goofy and memorable.” One of my favorites lessons that embodies these traits is teaching the importance of having eyes in the back of your head (this is a shorter version of the earlier “4 Eyes are Better than 2” post).
At your next practice, ask one of your players to stand behind you and hold up 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 fingers. Make sure all the other players and coaches sitting in front you can see how many fingers are being held up. Have fun with it. Clear the hair away from your ‘back’ eyes, try to see the number of fingers in the player’s shadow. Be goofy. Make the lesson memorable.
Also make sure that you are in kahoots with an assistant coach or team parent so that they can tip you off. For example, a scratch of the scalp = 1, nose = 2, chin = 3, shoulder = 4, stomach = 5.
After your players have figured out your trick or you are forced to give up your secret, emphasize the importance of the developing those eyes in the back of your head by:
- Playing with your head up.
- Having your head constantly on a swivel so the entire field and all players can be seen.
- Most importantly, communicating with one another, just like you did with your accomplice.
Your players will remember your goofy interactions with them for many, many years. As for your pre and halftime speeches, or lectures during practice, not so much.