WYC 162 – Youth Soccer – Greg Winkler – Coaching a Season of Significance

With over 30 years of experience as an educator, coach and administrator, Greg Winkler is currently in his first year as head coach of the boys soccer team at Ida Baker High School in Cape Coral, Fla., and physical education teacher at the Charlotte Campus of Florida SouthWestern State College in Punta Gorda, Fla.

A decorated soccer coach in the state of Wisconsin, Winkler was named to the Wisconsin Soccer Association Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015, recognizing a coaching career that saw him amass over 400 wins at both the youth and high school levels and earn State Youth Coach of the Year honors in 2006 and Wisconsin Large School Coach of the Year in 2004.

In 2009, Winkler published “Coaching a Season of Significance,” a coaching resource that draws upon his vast experiences to map out a plan for fellow coaches to find success and overcome obstacles at every step along the way to a significant season. He has presented at coaching and athletic director conferences on topics ranging from building relationships through athletics to engaging in effective communication with parents and administrators.

Website: gregwinkler.net

Twitter: @gregwinkler10

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Coaching your own kids

  • Focus on treating every kid like they are your own kid
  • Unless the kid brings it up, don’t talk very much sports at home

My Cringe moment from early coaching years

  • Calling out a specific kid at halftime in front of the team

Teaching skills while keeping it fun

  • Sharks and minnows with a soccer ball or any tag/relay race game with a ball
  • Losers of games do something embarassing – Ima Stars or donkey kicks
  • Competition in practice is key

Practicing pressure situations

  • Knockout games are great

Mistake recovery

  • Work with players who beat themselves up, have conversations with them, guide them on how to deal with how to react to mistakes

Having a value-based program

  • They have 5 core values, they discuss 1 per week to start season, then they discuss other important topics in subsequent weeks


  • They are a huge resource! Be proactive to involve them so they are helping instead of complaining.

Dealing with crazy coaches

  • It’s hard to deal with other crazy coaches, it’s important to not let them get under your skin because your team can sense it.

Favorite books/quote:

Parting Advice

  • Focus on relationships and individuals vs. wins and losses

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