We mandate that all our coaches hold a coaching license. No exceptions. The reason is simple.
Coaching is about teaching. We dont care if a coach played college or pro soccer.
Teaching the game is different than playing the game.
Our coaches are required to have a coaching license because it certifies a coach's ability to teach.
Coaches must worry about practice planning, child development, motivation issues, age appropriate training, breaking down complex topics into simpler topics, etc.
This requires that a coach recieve specialized training.
Granted, all our coaches are former players. However, that in itself does not qualify one to teach. Playing the game is different than teaching the game. Players dont worry about the things that coaches worry about.
The majority of time spent with the players is at practice. Practice is the only time where players learn and improve. The coach has the most influence at practices and not on gameday. Therefore, a coach must meticulously plan and prepare the quality of each practice. Each practice is structured in a progressive manner with the purpose of meeting a learning objective.
It takes good coaching to develop good players. Our coaches demand that the players are constantly improving themselves. Therefore it makes sense to mandate standards for our coaching staff. Its these standards that ensure a quality learning environment.
Coaching courses teach coaches how to teach. Coaching courses have nothing to do with reading a book or taking an online course.
To earn the coaching license, a coach must pass a variety of tests at the end of a coaching course.
At the courses, coaches spend their time understanding teaching methodology. In addition, coaches spend time running actual practices in front of the instructors and getting feedback. This criticism is a valuable component to becoming a better coach.
Courses are physically and mentally demanding. Coaches typically spend 8 to 12 hours outdoors each day on top of homework assignments. Some of the courses take as long as 10 straight days to complete with precourse homework assignments. Its this type of environment that makes coaches better.
At the end of the course, coaches are graded on their ability to teach. The final exam is running a practice in front of the instructor. In order to earn the license, the coach must earn a passing grade. Some courses are brutal in that they have high failure rates. The failure rate at a recent USSF C Course was 50%-66%. This is not easy.
Professional players take coaching courses because teaching is different than playing. A lot of former college players, USL players, and MLS players typically attend courses. They struggle with teaching just as much as a nonprofessional player.