Tim Bradbury is the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association’s director of coaching. (Photo courtesy of ENYYSA)

By Tim Bradbury
Director of coaching, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association

I wrote recently about professional trainers and the fact that more and more clubs are turning to those who pose as professional trainers to teach players of all ages. Some took the article as a suggestion that parent/coaches no longer have a place in the game. Nothing could be further from the truth!

That being said, I have certain core beliefs when it comes to the rights of kids.

I firmly believe that all kids, no matter age or ability, have the right to have an educated coach teach them the game. I also believe that it is the right of every parent to insist on this from the club that they have chosen to play in. A combination of factors prevents kids getting what they deserve:

* Parent/coaches who claim they are too busy to get educated in coaching

* Clubs with no policy on what their expectations are of parent/coaches

* Clubs too disorganized or too lazy to host a grass roots coaching course

* Parents not prepared to ask that their child gets an educated coach

* Parents unaware of the inherent health issues that come with a life of no activity

The reality is that in any study that has been carried out, those kids who are lucky enough to get an educated coach
enjoy sports more and play sports longer. In short, they stand a better chance of staying physically active for longer.

I believe that all clubs and leagues have the right to say that to coach within our program, we expect all coaches to get some type of coaching education. There can be no excuses and no reasons why this can not happen. Grass roots coaching licenses are now low barrier in terms of cost ($85 per coach) and low barrier in terms of time and commitment (two hours online and two hours on a field). The overwhelming feedback from the thousands of parent/coaches who have attended them is a simple “every coach should have to do this.”

Clubs and leagues run scared of doing the right thing by the kids. The refrain is the same. If we ask all to get a license, we will have no coaches left. Fear seldom leads to good decisions. Those clubs and leagues that have mandated coaching licenses for all parent/coaches have always had more parents wanting to coach than ever. Once parents know they will get support and training, more want to do it.

Any parent, club or league wishing to set up a grass roots course can email me at tbradbury@enysoccer.com.