(Image by keithminer. Used under a Creative Commons license.)

(Image by keithminer. Used under a Creative Commons license.)

Girls soccer coaches need to build trust relationships with their players. Since the eyes are the windows to the soul, girls can have a hard time connecting with a coach who’s hiding behind a pair of wraparound Oakleys.

Becky Manley, the Beautiful Project’s expert teen coach and authority on young female athlete psychology, says a girl’s development both on the field and off is “anchored in her relationships with others.” Anything that puts up a barrier between the player and the coach - like yelling, a standoffish attitude or a pair of shades - gets in the way of that connection.

Don’t get us wrong, UV protection for both the skin and the eyes is very important for overall health, so sunscreen, a hat with a bill or a brim, and yes, sunglasses, are all essential pieces of coaching equipment.

But coaches should take off the shades and make direct eye contact when they are addressing players individually or as a team, during practices or games, to help build the kind of strong relationships essential for coaching success.

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