Won’t listen to your coach? Guess what will happen…

by Philip MacDonald | Last updated

Learning from an early age that the coach is the one who makes the final decisions regarding the team and accepting this is an important part of becoming a mature soccer player.  Many young players, and senior player for that matter, will argue with their coach.  This doesn’t help them or their move forward.  Therefore, even if you disagree with your coach it is best to respect his/her decision and help your team be successful.

Playing Position: growing up it is important for soccer players to play all positions on the field.  Learning the different positions and how to play in each will make you a more complete player.  In the future you never know when you may be called upon to fill a role.  Furthermore, as you develop as a player and look to advance you become a more valuable player due to your playing abilities in multiple positions.  Do not get stuck in the mindset that you must be a forward and cannot play defense or winger.  Try all the positions out, see what you like best, where you fit in best and where you excel most.  More often the coach will put you where you excel most. 

Playing time: the same goes for playing time.  If your coach decides to play you only half the game or the entire game this decision is up to him/her.  Younger players should have an equal opportunity to play as they are just developing their skills and passion for the game.  If you are starting out and your coach isn’t rotating properly then perhaps it is best to find a team where you can receive equal playing time.  More advanced players and college players certainly should not argue about playing time.  Once you are playing in a high level of competition you must accept the coaches decision for playing time.  If the circumstances are that complete the season and move on to a team where there will be a better situation for yourself.

Attitude: many young players will pretend to listen to their coach but the reality is the coach will often have more knowledge of the game than you do.  And if the coach does not still respect his decision and leading the team. 

Respect:  This is the most important factor with your relationship with your coach.  Gaining respect, however obtained, is the number one factor in effective communication.  For example, Sir Alex Ferguson’s presence makes his players nervous when he’s talking.  They are not scared of him but they have so much respect that they have his undivided attention and do what he asks on the field.  Ferguson’s resume speaks for itself.  For FC Barcelona’s coach, Josep Guardiola, it is about developing a bong with the players.  In both instances, the players have respect, so they listen.  If your coach is new to the team or well known before taking the coaching position you must always start fresh and with respect.  Respect is not something the coach must earn.  You show it right away.

Examples of professionals not listening to their coach include Adriano Leite Ribeiro of Brazil, commonly referred to as Adriano and Nicolas Anelka of France.  Each of these players attitudes has put them in hot water throughout their careers.  The y have often found themselves on the outside watching games, being in the transfer discussion and in Anelka’s situation played for a new club almost every two seasons.  This lack of respect begins to take on a life of its own where you are viewed no longer as a just a soccer player but first impression is that you are a trouble maker, can be disruptive in the dressing room and are a risk to take on the team.  Players that have crossed the line with Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United have immediately been exiled from the club.  From a professional standpoint it doesn’t get any better than playing for Manchester United.  There you will always be competing for titles which is what you want as a soccer player. 

The club will always move on whether you are there or not.  Nobody is bigger than the club and game itself.  Even David Beckham found himself on the outside looking in at Manchester United.  Cristiano Ronaldo was the best player in the world when we played at Manchester United and they won the English Premier League and EUFA Champions League in 2007-2008.  Since Cristiano’s departure Man Utd has been successful in all competitions and is likely to win more hardware in the near future. 

No matter your level of play, at the end of the day be a professional about your behavior and respect all around you including your teammates, coaching staff and the club itself as you are representing them.

How does your coach demand his/her respect?

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