A note from IGH Heat’s Director of Training, Westley Dayus:

With the season well under way, I wanted to send out a quick reminder to all our coaches and parents.

Remember to enjoy the season and the time you spend with your teams and, that at the end of the day, the progression with skills over winning is the most important part of the journey.

Losing your cool or shouting and blaming bad ref calls does nothing to improve the game that we are teaching to young adults and children — it hampers their learning and causes bad habits to be learned.

Of course, it’s nice to win, but I would rather see skills being developed and players learning rather than blowing teams out of the water or running up the scores.

If this happens, reinforce the good things and ask your players to think of other skills to improve on during the game rather than simply scoring more goals. Yes, shooting is important and part of the game but there are many different ways to put the ball in the net.

Can your players cross the ball? Can the players move the ball around the back before moving forward and attacking? Can they use both left and right fee? Can they receive the ball across the body and can they keep possession when needed? Can they create opportunities to volley the ball or head the ball (if the rules apply to that age group)? These are all skills that can be improved on during a match.

In the event that the score gets out of control either way, be positive, support your players, and be a mentor and a student of the game. Learn from the game that you see in front of you and again support the players, no matter which city or town they come from (and that means both opponents and home team).

As we move up the level, expectations increase as well as pressure from others can put a strain on what we are really trying to do – teach a game that we want the children to fall in love with and continue playing into their 50s, while also creating a safe environment for children to learn and actually enjoy the wonderful game of soccer.

If you have any issues or anything that you need to talk to me about, my door is always open. I can guarantee that I’ve been in your shoes and may have a way to help you through the tough times and support you and the children you teach.

I have great faith in all of our coaches here and continue to receive calls and emails and parents coming up to me to thank me and our coaches for the good things.

Again, if you ever have any questions, I’m here to help.

Thanks for all you do.

Westley