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TOPSoccer Buddy – The Secret Sauce

What is a TOPSoccer Buddy

  • Friend
  • Protector (safety)
  • Training partner
  • Behavior model
  • Facilitator/mentor
  • Liaison (to parents, coaches, peers)

Role of Buddies

  • Looks out for the safety of player
  • Demonstrates desired skill, activity
  • Encourages athletes and celebrates success
  • Reinforces coaching points (technical, tactical)
  • Encourages decision-making
  • Provides stability in chaotic environment

Role of Buddy For Players With…

Non-Physical Disabilities

  • Explain activities in 1-2 step sequences
  • Allow for more time to react, respond
  • Be alert for cues of over-stimulation (hands on ears, flapping hands, etc.)
  • Learn warning signs and de-escalate (remove from area, calming words and manners)
  • Don’t take it personally if player has a bad day

Physical Disabilities

  • Use voice, hands and arms to guide player
  • Create a safety zone for all players
  • Provide balance and stability
    • May need multiple Buddies

Coach-Buddy Interactions

  • Prepare Buddies before session
    • Provide lesson plan
    • Give reminders for safety, support
    • Discuss special player situations, behaviors
  • Engage Buddies throughout session
    • Reinforce positive behaviors (praise in public)
    • Offer suggestions for improvement (criticize in private)
  • Debrief Buddies after session – short and sweet
    • Problems, successes
    • Ideas for next week