May 30, 2012
More volunteer soccer organizations are moving toward hiring Directors of Coaching (DOC). From my experience, many folks in the soccer community including administrators, coaches, and parents may misunderstand the DOC position. It makes sense, from a youth soccer organization, to determine what the DOC actually does! Second, the youth soccer organization must determine how the DOC will be embedded into the current structure of the existing programs and how the DOC can support change and advancement in the existing programs. Change is difficult at any level. When we start to add new positions and titles to youth sport organizations many questions may develop from the constituents.
What does a DOC actually do?
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) has created a diploma program for DOCs.
The Director of Coaching Diploma is a 21-hour course designed to address the issues confronting the Director of an American club. The curriculum has been created in cooperation with US Club Soccer. It examines the technical, conceptual, leadership and administrative skills of future and current Directors of Coaching for youth soccer clubs for the purpose of developing the American soccer player. This is accomplished through a curriculum rich in application and theory and will focus on organizational structure, methods of coaching, leadership theory, evaluation and development of coaches and players and fiscal, legal and moral responsibility. Candidates will understand each of the individual units of the club as well as the interrelationship of those parts to achieve the specific goals and objectives of a youth soccer club.
From a youth soccer organization perspective, the hiring administrators must come to a consensus as to what a DOC will do for their in-town and travel programs alike.
Is the DOC hired to elevate the level of player performance or elevate the level of teaching by coaches?
This question is important to address at the organizational level. From my perspective, if we have well trained coaches who can effectively teach the age appropriate concepts and skills to our teams, we will reach the program level goals.
So how do we create and develop these well trained coaches? Clearly, if the right DOC is hired we can get to that end through the leadership and guidance of the DOC. The DOC is the person that will be the coach educator at all levels. The DOC creates programming to assist with practice plan development (effective planning to reach stated outcomes), develop teaching sessions in order to demonstrate to coaches how to handle game day situations (from communication on the field to finding solutions to tactical issues during a match), handle team selection and player evaluations, and potentially develop a program wide-curriculum holding coaches accountable for the instruction delivered.
In the end the DOC is responsible for teaching our coaches to coach better!