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The Daily Responsibilities of a Coach

A common trait in soccer is its state of constant change. The presumptions of these
continuous changes are perpetual analysis, planning, and prevalent decision-making. Decision-
making is nothing more than endless action consisting of organically related activity. These
activities, in turn, are what we call part of the leadership role. In this train of thought, I don't
want to focus on the actions and decisions of the game and typical playing situations.
On the contrary, I would like to shed light on the responsibility and accountability of the decision
made by coaches and officials within the organization. I always hope that all the directors,
officials, administrators, and coaches are very clear with the responsibilities entrusted to them
either by fate or by their own volition when they agree to lead a team or be a part of an
organization or club. How does the Latin phrase put it? "Navigare necesse est" or "Everyone
must decide!" I want to season my material with known or little-known quotes by those who
have influenced our universal thought process through the centuries.
"Success is nothing more than the result of a good decision.
It's in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped."
(Anthony Robbins)


These leadership functions are multi-layered and are all part and parcel of the development of the
soccer institution. An essential criterion for a successful decision is for the deciding
official/coach to anticipate and react to the constantly changing conditions, expectations and
opportunities. But to act and react, there is a need for good, current, and appropriate information.
The peculiarity of good information is that it mirrors reality, is defined in scope, and is timely
and needed. On the contrary, erroneous information is useless to the venture, and it can even
worsen its state.
The officers/coaches require two kinds of information to carry out their various duties. 
1. They must complete the long-term goals and the components they are in charge of. 
2. The other is for the venture's practical operational responsibilities, meaning the
immediate short-term goals, considering their constant volatility. Therefore, the long-
term orientation is strategic, as the short-term direction is operative.
There are three fundamental problems of the strategic orientation for leadership:
1. How to unearth all of the factors which will only affect the venture in the future?
2. How to determine their existence and reality?
3. How to measure their impending future impact on the venture?
To come up with possible answers to these questions, the officials/coaches need to be well-
grounded in their preparation and schooling. Still, they must have a high degree of openness and
acceptance in their thought process and imagination. The organization of the orientation system
demands a concurrent step-by-step method and that those involved in the information process
have their functions and objectives in this realm clearly defined.

"Do not start anything of which you don't decide the outcome."
(Hermann Kant –German Writer)
Operative and Strategic Orientation substantially differ, as the source for both internal and
external information necessary for orientation can be accurately defined. The ones in charge of
running the operation are responsible for unearthing and transmitting the data, in other words,
those working around the officials and coaches/managers.
From the point of view of the coach, who are these people?
 The technical advisor
 The Assistant Coach (goalkeeper coach and other coaches)
 The team physician (where available)
 The masseuse (where available)
 The players themselves!!!!
 The office staff in charge of analyzing data
It should be mentioned that there is an inner trap or contradiction within Operative Orientation.
All information seems to be in a matrix and appears objective. Simultaneously, preparers of the
information and those receiving and unearthing it ahead of the coaches often do not have the
same goals and are not always on the same page. Therefore, coaches can question the objectivity
of these reports. In other words, those dispensing with the information could be very subjective.
What type of situation demands a need for a decision?
Above all, to solve the problem!
From the perspective of the officials/directors/administrators/coaches on future problems within
the organization, we mean just that, future or anticipated forthcoming issues, which we did not
consider at the time of initial planning of the club/league/association because none of these
issues were even thought of!
Changes in our everyday life have become more cumbersome and more numerous in occurrence,
demanding immediate attention from the organization by the leadership of the front office and all
of the staff around them. In other words, we should immediately adapt to the situation. Yes! We
could say that this demands that an organization is always in a state of "instant response" mode.
A positive result of this adaptability depends on the intervention's timing and quality (how) on
the forthcoming or current changes (problems) at hand. Timely and correct reaction demands a
lot of preparation time. The quicker the leaders can identify the development of the change
(issue), the more time they will have to prepare for its resolution.
In our rapidly changing world of even amateur and youth soccer, the problems amongst team
members, parents, directors, administrators, and legalities keep growing by the day. These
problems arise because the requirements for a great organization draw more and more tension
and create a myriad of issues and added responsibilities.
Leadership qualities and attributes are necessary for identifying problems and potential issues.
However, to estimate the actual weight of such issues and separate them from the pseudo-
problems and imagined ones, it is practical and sensible to resort to and use problem-solving and
fault-finding methods as an elementary technique in identifying problems.

Leaders must conduct their investigations from the event of the fault (problem) to the
identification of the original problem which caused the change (problem) and the need for action.
What kind of leader is a coach who decides based on the quote below?

"Men are cowards. In need of a decision, they keep rethinking it several times hoping that the
decision could be adjourned."
(Canetti, Austrian essayist and writer)

 

The fate of an organization depends on consistent daily decisions and decision making and on
following a step-by-step method in these decisions leading to a set goal. Those coaches who
make these daily decisions clearly understand this responsibility. When a coach brings and
makes a final decision, he can only count on himself and, of course, on the instruments and
vehicles he has at his disposal. In interviews and conversations, we often hear that a fellow coach
or official states that they had a feeling…. I have often wondered if there is a sixth sense when a
coach listens to his feelings and intuitions.

 

Earlier, we have described and touched on the fact as to how important it is to gather all the
information and only then decide. Conversely, it is also true that there is such thing as
overwhelming data, too much information which can only lead to a mental block and a delay in
decision. If a coach/leader wants to consider every information factor, they become indecisive,
and this state is sure to bring the wrong decision. For this reason, it is imperative to sort through
and only keep the vital information. For the coach, selection and filtering of the information at
hand are essential aspects. For this reason, the coaching staff must be comprised of professionals
who have worked together for a long time and are familiar with each other's whims.

 

We must admit it; deciding is easy!

It is the road leading to that hard decision that is difficult!
Coaches and leaders must make many responsible decisions in the daily operation of a team and
many more in the organization. These decisions are not only relevant to team personnel, team
selection, or the game at hand. In emails, comments, concerns of the ones who love and care
about the team and the organization and their children within it surface – all respect to them –
they view everything in non-specialists' terms that the team, the lineup should have been this and
that. Their kids are not playing because of politics, or if they are playing and have a terrible
game, it is due to an illness, etc. But for the coach, the lineup and team personnel are not the
central dilemma or problem.

 

How close are these terms to one another?

 

To Give – To Receive
To Gift – To Confiscate
To Respect – To Humiliate
To pay attention – To expect
To condone – To coerce
To forgive – To get angry
To trust – To suspect
To have sympathy – To be indifferent
To believe – To doubt
"To know the choice is simple,
But actual knowledge is deciding.
A good man rarely errs."
(Tacitus)

 

The coach, coaches, and officials must inform the leadership of the daily problems because if
this is not done later, parents and administrators can use it against them. The coach should focus
on the processes around the organization, and the teams are the primary responsibility! In other
words, since everything around the life of the organization is an organic process, from trash
removal to scholarship awards, the coach and directors need to be in constant "momentary"
contact with all those in the leadership who are present and have a voice in the everyday
operation of the entity.

 

A successful decision is that the coach/officials recognize the problem.
The coach needs to compose the problem to himself and project it outwards towards his
environment. This process is essential!

 

The coach must not talk about their inner bouts and frustration before leadership makes certain
decisions. They should only divulge their information to the most trusted person in their inner
circle, whom they can trust unconditionally. But the fact is that it cannot be more than one or two
people. After recognition and orientation as to the nature of the problem, the coach/official must
resolve the issue. Namely, a decision has to be made. In the majority of the cases, the solution
and resolution are unambiguous, and the decision becomes routine.
At the same time, we must be careful that our external communication does not seem routine, as
this would degrade the inner struggle the decision-maker has undergone and the process of
making decisions in general.

 

As for the quick, reasonable decisions:

 

Coaches and officials must intimately know the workings of their organization and within them,
their teams, their possibilities, our competitors, and the whole environment surrounding the game
of soccer and our entity. It is crucial to analyze collected information for ourselves and their
context and correlation to the whole.

 

The secret of highly successful people is this:

 They have certain habits not prevalent in the average folks, and due to this, they are
capable of making better decisions.
 Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a
result, they get better answers.
 Success always sides with those who dare to innovate and are always ready to solve new
problems created by current situations.

 

Given a great decision-making process, the coach must:
1. Be very clear in the institution's hierarchy. 
2. They must know where and with whom they can turn with any problem without
infringing on any personal interests within the organization (except the owners & the
board).
3. They must have a transparent view of the players under their charge, the inner structure,
and public relations.
4. They must be familiar with the players' leaders, both positive and negative influences.
5. Based on playing ability, they must understand who are the gems of the organization.
6. Who are the players on whom they can always count on?
7. The coach must know the rules of the game, the playing system, the training method, and
the functionality and responsibility of each player for each role).
8. They must have perfect self-control at all times.
9. They must be a good "coaching" Coach, one who can read the game. One who can think
ahead not only analyze after the fact.

 

The coach must be an individual a personality who:
 Can decide rationally on vocational questions, and accept responsibility, thus helping the
organization.
 It can also be emotional, meaning that they use that sixth sense in some aspect of their
decision-making - bringing their feelings into the equation- for example, when they are
loyal to a player.
 Can bring auxiliary decisions, meaning that they shed light on all the opportunities and
deficiencies, thus bringing management to a position to face decision making.

 

All in all, coaching is not an easy vocation!

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