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Resources Feb 01, 2016

Chapter 13: YOUR RELATIONSHIP – ROOKIE: Surviving Your Freshman Year of College Soccer

ROOKIE Cover JPEGYou’re going to have some type of relationship with your coach, whether that relationship is close, distant or something in between. Regardless of the distance, you obviously want to have a positive relationship with the coach, so you can start by not making his life any more difficult than it already is. We’ll go into some specifics later, but for now let me suggest that you strive to be someone that your coach will refer to as high-trust, low-maintenance. If you exist as a hard-working, responsible and dependable person who doesn’t drag drama into his life, he’s going to like you.

Some players want to have a close relationship with their coach, some do not. It’s completely your choice and either way is fine. You don’t have to have a close relationship to have a positive one. You’ll get to know your coach and he’ll get to know you just because you’ll spend so much time together. I’ve genuinely liked plenty of players I wasn’t necessarily close with, and I would imagine every other coach would say the same.

But some players want more from their relationship; some players were close with their club or high school coach and they want the same type of relationship with their college coach, or they want the college coach to serve as a father figure.

You can have whatever type of relationship you choose, however, under- stand that your relationship with your coach is up to you, not him. If you are a player that wants to be close with the coach, you’ll be more than welcomed to do that, but you have to be the catalyst in that relationship. Keep in mind that close is a relative term and there are some lines that can’t be crossed, and each coach determines those lines for himself.

There are a lot of eyes on your coach, and his objectivity needs to remain above reproach. Let’s translate that to mean that your coach doesn’t want people to think that playing time preference is given to the players he likes more than others. Therefore he can’t actively seek out a relationship with you. If you want a close relationship, you’ll have to go make one. Thankfully, it’s really quite simple.

If you want a relationship that goes deeper than Xs and Os, then you’re ask- ing that your coach see you as more than just a player. For that to happen, you need to see him as more than just a coach. That’s a difficult proposition if your only interactions are on the soccer field. To strengthen your relationship, start by doing some things that don’t involve a ball and cleats, like popping by his office once in a while to chat about whatever is on your mind, and that shouldn’t be limited to soccer. Let him get to know you on a personal level and he’ll let you do the same.

When there’s a team meal, don’t be afraid to sit with the coaches if the seating arrangement allows. Most players try to physically distance themselves from their coaches at meals, and that’s fine, too. But if the seating arrangement dictates that the coaches and players will share a table, pick a seat near the coach. The conversation at team meals usually doesn’t revolve around soccer, so they provide an excellent chance for you to get to know your coach, and for him to get to know you.

There are countless opportunities for you to connect with your coach. Bus rides, hotel lobbies, fundraisers, community service and other non-soccer events all offer you a chance to build that relationship. But it’s up to you to take the relationship to him.

Much like the whole of your college soccer experience, when it comes to your relationship with your coach, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

Meet Your Coach << Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >> Slippery Slope

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