I spend a lot of my time during spring and fall on the soccer field. Coaching is one of the best parts of my personal life — it’s one of the ways I give back to the athletic and scholastic community that raised me, and it’s one of the places I regain energy. There’s nothing like a group of giggling 8-year-olds to remind you that you should work hard, but in between life is supposed to be fun! Below are some of the tools I use to stay organized and keep the kids interested in the off-season.
Off-season footwork challenge: Even if you have kids who are playing two seasons or on select teams, fall season often has a bit of a re-learning curve. Use this template to help kids get touches on the ball. I keep a stockpile of these emoji keychains handy for quick rewards.
Coach Cash: This can be really helpful with younger groups. Create your own coach cash and award them for acts of awesomeness, whether that’s a goal, a shot, great sportsmanship, winners of a drill, or doing something personally important to that player (like staying in position for a whole game when they struggle to do so!). To go one step further, give each parent $5 in coach cash and ask them to award them to players throughout the season. When you introduce the concept of coach cash to your team, provide each of them with a snack-size or sandwich-size Ziploc bag with each team member’s name. This is their “wallet” where they can store their cash throughout the season.
Download the Coach Cash Template here. To customize the template, open it in PowerPoint. Click Insert>Picture>Picture from File and insert a photo of yourself. Resize it to fit over the dollar bill’s image of George Washington. Click on the photo and click Crop>Crop to Shape. Select the oval and crop your photo into the same oval shape of the dollar bill photo. Click Picture Format>Color and select a green that matches the dollar bill. This doesn’t need to be exact, just enough to blend! Your kids won’t care. Print, cut, hand ’em out! At the end of the season, have the kids trade in their cash for special prizes.
Coach’s Gametime Lineup: This helps me keep track of the important things that occur during a game without carrying a clipboard or looking like I’m on the phone. It allows me to list my starting lineup and subs, my warm-up, notes for pre-game huddle, and then the positives, negatives, shots/goals, and recipients of Coach Cash for each half. Click here to download the gametime lineup.
To use the gametime lineup, fold in half on the dotted line. This separates your first half (1H) from your second half (2H). Then fold in half again along the bold solid line. You now have a palm-sized paper with space for your lineup on one side and notes for each half on the other.