08 Mar Christian Lavers: What is the role of a club’s Director of Coaching?
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in SoccerAmerica’s Youth Soccer Insider. It was written by ECNL President Christian Lavers.
The role of the Director of Coaching of a youth soccer club is often misunderstood – by players, parents, and sometimes even coaches themselves.
Unfortunately, it is not even uncommon for the people that actually hire a DOC to be somewhat confused as to what exactly they are looking for from this position. In fact, if you reviewed the job descriptions of the DOC at 10 different youth clubs, you would probably find what appeared to be almost 10 different jobs. This begs a major question — what is a DOC supposed to do?
Fundamentally, the job of a DOC can be summarized in one basic proposition: to develop and improve coaches so that players maximize their potential at all ages. Accomplishing this lofty objective requires wide-ranging, and very different types of professional skills:
Staff Development: Successful businesses have talented people at every level who are ready to “move up” when their superior is promoted or leaves for another company. Both depth and “upward mobility” of staff are reflective of an environment where employees are challenged, developed, and recognized for their abilities. The best DOCs are great at managing coaching development — both formally (through licensing, courses, seminars, etc.) and informally (through regular feedback and observation, mentoring, etc.).
Staff Recruitment and Assignment: Identifying coaches with special talents, or coaches that can help your club in specific areas, is key in creating a staff with depth and breadth. A DOC should always be looking to attract great coaches, as well as individuals with the potential to become great coaches, to the club. As importantly, a DOC needs to assign the right coach to the right age group based on the particular strengths of the coach and the demands of the age group. There are very different personal and teaching skills required, and very different areas of focus for player development, from U-8 to U-14 to U-18. Matching the player age and level to the qualities of the coach, as well as helping the coach become better in the most important areas required for success in the age group, is critical.
Read the entire article here.