Editor’s Note: Washington Youth Soccer Board of Directors Secretary and Positive Coaching Alliance liaison Jane McGillivray provided us with the following story to illustrate why coaches, parents, and even players can benefit from the excellent training that PCA provides. 

I’m standing behind the goal, off to the side. Jenny is in goal. Jenny is the one girl on our team who prefers to do cartwheels over drills or the actual game. She’s in goal. I move in close, you know, to help her out. 

The players are coming down the field at us. Fast. Our opponent is in control. I’m flailing. I’m panicking. I’m yelling at our players to cover the player not the ball, to get your body in front and cut off the pass. I’m yelling at the top of my lungs. I’m yelling at Jenny. Step out, move right, dive!  We are down 0-1.

The players regroup, I tell Jenny to shake it off, to get back on your line and be ready. I can see the droop in her shoulders. She’s slumped over, discouraged and alone. She didn’t want to play in goal. But that was the plan. MY plan. 

I’m shouting at all my players: get open Suzy! Take it down the field Hannah! A mom from the opposing side is walking towards me, hackles raised. Her strides spoke volumes.  

What does this lady thinks she’s doing? I mumble to myself, hoping she doesn’t have the guts. But she approaches me and calmly asks me if I could stop screaming at the girls. It’s bothering her. It’s bothering the other parents. I look at her aghast. No! I’m coaching my team!

I stare daggers at her as she walks away, my blood boiling. But I wasn’t mad at her.

I was mad at myself. 

This is one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. My skin crawls every time I think about it. I think about everyone who judged me, who saw me become the coaching monster that I never wanted to be. 

But then I was introduced to Positive Coaching Alliance, an organization that not only saved me from myself, but saved the players on every team I’ve coached or been around since. I say as little as possible during games, which is often incredibly difficult for me. When a word does leave my lips in the middle of a match, I do my best to keep it positive and only let it serve to boost the players’ confidence. Afterwards, I just tell the players how much I love watching them play and let them tell me what they learned. 

Coaches, players, and parents have access to free training and resources from the Positive Coaching Alliance through Washington Youth Soccer. To schedule your workshop today, email Paul Bayly at paulb@washingtonyouthsoccer.org