PIE = Positive, Instructional, and Encouraging

Positive Coaching is one of AYSO’s philosophies for a good reason: it works. Perhaps you’ve observed how rarely the word “no” appears on this web site.

Being consistently PIE is difficult. It takes time to learn, and to think about how to design and implement a training drill instead of trying to correct a player during a game.

To get you started, here are a few common phrases, and what, in retrospect, would have been better to say.

What I was thinking

What I aspire to say next time

Stop double clutching!

Let’s work on making one continuous motion from stepping to kicking to follow-through.

Don’t pass it across our own goal!

Nova is out wide. Next time, try to reward her for being open on the side.

Don’t kick it to the other team!

Remember to take time to look for a teammate so we can keep the ball.

Why do you always give up when you lose the ball?

Find the ball with your eyes and stay with it. Try to delay, or at least annoy, the kid who took it from you. You might get it back.

Don’t just stand there and watch it!

I want you to find some open space. Kick the ball into that space, and then run after it and kick it again.

Aargh, were you even aiming?

When you get the ball, dribble forward with it. I want to see you kick the ball three times before passing. Every time. Three touches. Or four. 

Dude! You just kicked all the balls onto that roof!

I know it feels powerful to punt the ball. Can we save that for after practice, and in that direction instead? Now let’s play some games that don’t require a ball. Who knows how to play monkeys and alligators?

What are you doing up there? Climb down this instant!

Come join us over here! We’re playing the Upchucking Hippos game!

OMG!! What were you thinking?

I know it’s past dinnertime and I recognize that you’re tired and running low on energy. Please take five slow breaths with me and let’s try to recenter so we can play with our team for a few more minutes before everyone goes home.