SOCCER-COACH-L List of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

[Originally compiled by Chuck Hartshorn (
and David Graham (]

Version 2.0
Revised 1999/08/18
Sent automatically to new subscribers
TOC distributed periodically via SOCCER-COACH-L

Full text available at
and as part of the list file archive ('get coach.faq')
or by request from

Contents of the FAQ

    I. Basic list information

  1. Is there any legal information I should know?
  2. What is SOCCER-COACH-L, exactly?
  3. How much mail will I get?
  4. That's way too much! How can I limit it?
  5. How do I send a message to everybody?
  6. Who can send mail to the SOCCER-COACH-L mailing list?
  7. What happens when I "reply" to something SOCCER-COACH-L sent me?

    II. Managing your subscription

  8. How do I subscribe to SOCCER-COACH-L?
  9. How do I unsubscribe?
  10. How can I best manage my subscription from my work account?
  11. How do I get the "digest version"?
  12. How do I get OUT of digest mode? Are there other modes?
  13. What are 'topics' and what use are they?
  14. How can I best sort my list mail into one or more mailboxes?
  15. How can I check my subscription options?
  16. What should I do when I go on holiday or am extra-busy at work?

    III. Troubleshooting

  17. Why won't the listserv process my commands?
  18. Why didn't my posting show up on the list?
  19. Why did my list mail stop coming all of a sudden?
  20. Why was my message to the list owner returned to me?

    IV. Etiquette

  21. What can I send to SOCCER-COACH-L?
  22. What should I *not* send to the list?
  23. Are there some posting conventions of which I should be aware?

    V. Other services

  24. What else is available from the SOCCER-COACH-L listserv?
  25. Can I get these files via ftp?
  26. What else can LISTSERV do for me?
  27. What are the "list archives" and where can I find them?
  28. What other web support is available?
  29. What are some other good online soccer sources?
  30. What if this FAQ didn't answer my question?

I. Basic list information

1) Is there any legal information I should know?

SOCCER-COACH-L is a free, private, non-commercial, not-for-profit communications and entertainment service implemented via Internet electronic mail. It is not necessarily endorsed or supported by Memorial University of Newfoundland, nor by any company whose computers are used in part for transport of the electronic mail messages. Original authors bear full and sole responsibility for the content of messages distributed by the service. Operation of the server software is the full and sole responsibility of David Graham (, who claims compilation copyright 1996 on the collected messages thereof. As list owner, he may from time to time designate one or more persons to replace him temporarily; other persons thus authorized to act as list owners bear full and sole responsibility for their own list management actions.

2) What is SOCCER-COACH-L, exactly?

SOCCER-COACH-L is a mailing list for the discussion of coaching soccer (association football). Participants deal with questions of all types related to this topic: fitness and conditioning, injuries, mental preparation, technical drills, tactics and strategy, team management, resource materials, coaching certification and so forth. List members come from several continents and a wide variety of backgrounds; a majority are youth coaches, but a number also coach at the secondary-school and college or university level. The list is open to anyone who wishes to participate: the only requirements are an interest in soccer coaching and a willingness to tolerate diversity of viewpoints. The list is not moderated, and is intended for the exchange of coaching techniques among soccer coaches.

3) How much mail will I get?

Currently, the ceiling is set at 75 messages/day. Normally, however, you should expect to receive 40 to 50 messages. This is a great deal of mail, and if your initial reaction is one of panic, you may wish to limit it: see the next question for details on how to do this.

4) That's way too much! How can I limit it?

There are three ways to limit the amount of list mail you receive. The most drastic is simply to leave the list entirely, and follow the discussions through the list archives (see below, questions 24 and 27). If you prefer to receive only a single (very large) daily message containing all the day's postings, you should subscribe to the digest version (see below, question 11, for instructions on how to do this). The third option involves the use of list topics: if there are certain areas in which you are less interested, you should consider unsubscribing from those topics (see below, question 13).

5) How do I send a message to everybody?

Send any plain text message you want to the list address, which is

Your message will be distributed to all subscribers. Two important points need to be remembered. First, please avoid sending encoded 'attachments', which are indecipherable to many people's software. Second, if you use a mailer that sends HTML-encoded mail by default (such as Outlook) or a web browser, please make sure you have disabled the HTML encoding, which can cause serious difficulties for some subscribers and for the list archives.

Please NOTE the difference between the list address (to which you send messages for everyone to read) and the list administration address (to which you send subscription management commands). See the next section of the FAQ for instructions on how to manage your subscription.

6) Who can send mail to the SOCCER-COACH-L mailing list?

Currently, SOCCER-COACH-L is set to "public" mode for incoming list-mail - it will accept and distribute text from anyone, subscriber or not. This is necessary because some subscribers have addresses that change without warning, and would not be able to post messages to the list if it were set to 'private'. Obviously, non-subscribers won't receive copies of their submissions and won't see any of the responses. This means that you may occasionally receive 'spam' despite the filters that are in place to limit it. Sometimes, 'spam' e-mails will contain objectionable content; when this happens, please simply delete the message without replying to it. It did not originate with a list member, and the author will never see your reply in any event if you send it to the list.

7) What happens when I "reply" to something SOCCER-COACH-L sent me?

Depends on your mailer. In general, using most mailers' "REPLY" command will send your response to the entire mailing list - NOT just to the originator of the message to which you're replying. In other words, if you want your reply to go *only* to the original poster, and not to the list as a whole, you should use your mailer's "FORWARD" command (or similar).

If you want everyone's reply to come only to you and not to the list, the best thing is to take a moment to set your mailer's "Reply-To:" header field to your own address (making sure that you have entered it correctly!). Some subscribers may have their mailers configured in this way by default; if you want your reply to go to the whole list, you may need to edit the 'To:' header accordingly.

II. Managing your subscription

NOTE that all subscription management commands must be directed to the listserv address, and not to the list: send them to
You should also note that you can now manage your subscription by using the web: go to and click on any archive file to see a tool bar with list management commands on it.

NOTE: for complete information on managing your subscription, please see the listserv documentation at

8) How do I subscribe to SOCCER-COACH-L?

It's all run by listserv software. If your name is "Jill Coach", for example, send mail to with a message body consisting of:

Please note that the final character in the list name is the letter "L", NOT the number "1" - though the name is not case-sensitive - , and that you will need to replace "Your Name" with your real name (what people call you), NOT with your e-mail address (what computers call you). Your e-mail address is picked out of the headers of your mail. All *administrative* mail (in other words, mail connected with managing your subscription) must be sent from this subscription address, to which all list-mail for you will be sent (in other words, mail sent by other list members to the list as a whole).

9) How do I unsubscribe?

Send mail to with a message body consisting of:

(No name is required - it's keyed on your address from the e-mail header) NOTE: see question 16 if you're just leaving temporarily.

10) How can I best manage my subscription from my work account?

Many subscribers want to be able to manage their subscription from one account while receiving their list mail at another. For example, you may want to be able to send commands to the listserv from an account at work, but receive your list mail at a personal account so as to keep your professional mailbox from overflowing with list mail. If this is the case, you should subscribe from both addresses and then set one of them to 'NOMAIL' by sending

to the listserv from that address.

11) What's the "digest version" and how do I get it?

The digest allows you to receive all the day's messages at once, combined into a single message. This option is convenient for list members who want to scan the day's postings quickly and read only those of interest to them. To set this option, send mail to consisting of:

12) How do I get OUT of digest mode? Are there other modes I should know about?

Actually, "digest" is only one of a number of "subscription options" which you can control. Use the "set" command in exactly the same way for all of these: send (to

where the word "option" is replaced by one of the following:

ACK/NOACK Do you want an acknowledgement of your postings?
CONCEAL/NOCONCEAL Do you want to hide your identity from REVIEW?
Mail/NOMailDo you want to receive mail from the list?
DIGests/NODIGestsDo you want a daily digest or individual messages?
REPro/NOREProDo you want to get a copy of your own postings?

You can combine these requests in a single message: the listserv software will execute all your requests and send you an acknowledgement of each. In other words, if you want to receive a daily digest containing all the day's messages and a copy of each of your own postings, but no acknowledgement of successfully processed postings, you would send the following to, either in a single message or in successive messages:

13) What are 'topics' and what use are they?

The use of 'topics' is important enough to warrant its own web page: see
Briefly, the topics allow subscribers to subscribe to messages in those areas that interest them, and to stop receiving messages in other areas. Each message you send to the list should contain one of the accepted topics described on the web page. To stop receiving messages in a given topic area, simply send the following command to the listserv:


For example, if you're not interested in discussions about the Laws of the Game, send


The 'Talk:' topic is almost always the one with the highest volume and the least coaching content, and is a good one to stop receiving if you want to reduce the volume of your list mail. NOTE that digest subscribers will receive all messages and cannot choose not to receive one or more topics.

14) How can I best sort my list mail into one or more mailboxes?

The exact mechanics of this will depend on how your own mailer works, but one typical way is to set up filters that use information contained in the mail headers. For example, you could simply redirect all mail from the listserv address into a special mailbox. Another way is to have the listserv insert a special tag into the subject header of each message to identify it as a list message. That's a subscription option too, called 'SUBJecthdr', and it's one of several ways you can set the headers for your list mail. Use it the same way as the other subscription options:

If you send this command, every list message will contain the tag '[COACH]' in the subject header. Note that this will have no effect if you receive the digest, however.

15) How can I check my subscription options?

Send the following to the list administration address, LISTSERV@MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA:

This will return a complete list of your current subscription options, which you can alter (see question 12). If your subscription has been deleted for any reason, the 'QUERY' command will tell you that you are not currently subscribed, and you can then resubscribe.

16) What should I do when I go on holiday or am extra-busy at work?

Please don't unsubscribe! If you intend to come back, just set your subscription to NOMAIL, then turn your mail on again by setting your subscription to 'MAIL' or 'DIGEST' when you're ready to start getting mail again. See question 12 for information on how to do this.

NOTE: Setting your subscription to 'nomail' is especially important if you use an 'autoreply' feature to answer your mail while you're away. Otherwise every message sent to you by the list will generate an error message to the list owner, who will react by turning off your mail anyway.

III. Troubleshooting

17) Why won't the listserv process my commands?

You can usually tell by the error message what the problem is. The first possibility is that you misspelled the command or used the wrong word. For example, if I send

to the listserv, I'll get the following reply:
> sent soccer-coach-l nomail Unknown command - "SENT". Try HELP.
This is pretty much self-explanatory, and you should soon realize the exact nature of the problem.

Two other kinds of problems are more difficult for many users to deal with. They involve misspellings of the list name and changes in the subscriber's address after the subscription has been registered.

When the listserv receives a subscription management command (a message containing one or more lines beginning with "SET" followed by a list name and one or more options) it first checks its internal database to make sure it knows of a list by the name specified and to see whether there is a subscription for the address where the command originated. Either of these checks can give rise to an error message. If you send the command to the wrong listserv or misspell the name of the list, you'll get something like the following response:

> set soccer-coach-1 nomail No LISTSERV list by the name of "SOCCER-COACH-1" is known to exist. Note that lists can be marked "confidential" and that the existence of such lists is usually known only to the server that is actually hosting it.

What did I do wrong? I typed (in lower case, so it wasn't obvious) "SOCCER-COACH-1" instead of "SOCCER-COACH-L". If you know you sent the command to the right listserv, you should probably check the spelling of the list name to see if you made a similar mistake.

Address changes are the cause of an enormous amount of confusion, because very frequently they occur without a subscriber's knowledge. This happens because ISPs don't always tell their customers that their address has changed. For example, you may have subscribed to the list as Jill Coach <jill_coach@STRIKER.SOCCERLIST.CA&rt;.

This is how the listserv will have recorded your address. Some time later, your ISP may have decided that the lowest domain layer in your address (the "STRIKER" part) is simply unnecessary, and removed it without telling you, while still ensuring that mail addressed to you at the old addressed is processed normally. This is very considerate, of course, because you don't have to worry about a thing...until you have to send a listserv command! When the listserv receives a command from jill_coach@SOCCERLIST.CA, it checks the subscription database, sees there is no subscription for that address, and quite logically refuses to process the command. This can be extremely annoying, needless to say. The only practical solution is to contact the list owner and ask him to delete your old subscription. Once that's done, you can simply resubscribe from your new address. If you resubscribe without having your old subscription deleted, of course, you'll get two copies of all your list mail, which is something most normal people would rather avoid.

If you think your address may have changed without your knowledge, you can usually make sure by using the "SCAN" command to search the subscription list for your name or username. For example, using the addresses given above, sending

to the listserv would have resulted in a reply containing the full address (and that of anyone else with the username "jill_coach", of course).

18) Why didn't my posting show up on the list?

There are a couple of unlikely things that may have gone wrong. Perhaps your mail never went out because of a problem at your end, or perhaps another site or even the listserv were down and your message simply vanished. But there are a couple of more common reasons:

  1. the "ACK/NOACK" and "REPro/NOREPro" options (see question 12): perhaps you have both "NOACK" and "NOREPro" set, so that you receive neither an acknowledgement of a successful posting nor a copy of your successfully posted message.

    Solution: reset your subscriptions options (see question 12 for how to do that).

  2. the "Microsoft Internet Mail included header problem": when you reply to a message, some mailers, including MIM, automatically include all the headers from that message in your reply. When the listserv software sees some of these headers (especially "From:" and "Subject:") it assumes that your message may not be a genuine posting to the list, but an automatically generated error message from another site about a failed delivery, so it sends your message to the list owner instead of to the list. The list owner will do his best to tell you if this happens, but as he typically has to deal with several dozen error messages every day, he may not have time, and your message may simply vanish into electronic limbo.

    Solution: set your mailer's defaults so that headers are not included, or manually delete them before posting your message to the list.

19) Why did my list mail stop coming all of a sudden?

Normal mail volume can run from about 30 to 75 messages a day, but there are a number of reasons why you might suddenly stop getting mail from SOCCER-COACH-L. Here are a couple of the most common:

  1. You let your mailbox fill up (this is a problem which particularly affects AOL and Compuserve subscribers). When this happens, every message from the list to you generates an error message to the list owner, whose immediate reaction will be set your subscription options to 'NOMAIL'. You can set them back to 'MAIL' yourself once you've cleared the backlog.
  2. There was a problem of some sort with your site which resulted in the generation of a stream of error messages. Some sites are more prone to this than others. The list owner will try to be as patient as possible before taking action, but if the error messages keep coming, he will probably turn off your mail (as in 'a' above). In extreme cases (i.e. repeated messages saying 'No such user' or similar) he may delete your subscription altogether. In this case, you will need to resubscribe to the list once the problem is cleared up (see question 8).
20) Why was my message to the list owner returned to me?

From time to time, Memorial University's Computing and Communications staff 'lock out' all addresses in certain domains without warning. This happens when those domains are held responsible for 'spam' e-mail originating from them, usually because they fail to curb the users responsible. If this happens to you, you will not be able to reach the list owner or the listserv, though you will continue to receive list mail. Your only recourse is to use a second address from another site not locked out or to write to another list member and ask him or her to contact the list owner. This is an inconvenience, but spam e-mail causes so many problems that the university staff have to be ruthless in dealing with it. Subscribers affected by such lock-outs should apply pressure to their ISPs to ensure that they comply with requests to curb spam.

IV. Etiquette

NOTE: The 'Golden Rule' of list etiquette can be stated quite simply: please be considerate of others who may receive your responses. It is all too easy to prepare a response with a tone which is perceived as much harsher than was intended. At the risk of being redundant, please be considerate: personal flames are not welcome on the list. Subscribers who are new to the net or to mailing lists should immediately read Adam Engst's articles on the subject of "Mailing list manners"; the first can be found at .

21) What can I send to SOCCER-COACH-L?

The charter of the group does not permit restriction of messages to suit anyone's taste or job situation. As a rule of thumb, anything you'd say in a group of soccer coaches is permitted. If that means that some folks must unsubscribe for fear of their jobs or because they don't like the tone or language of some messages, we'll be sorry to see them go. This "freedom hall" approach cuts both ways, however: if anyone wants to lobby the group to encourage Political Correctness, this activity is also permitted in moderation.

Any change to the charter will be made only by consensus. The list owner will abstain from any discussion or vote on changing the charter of SOCCER-COACH-L. The "charter" is given above in answer to question 2, is available anytime by sending a message to consisting of "info SOCCER-COACH-L", and is sent automatically to each new subscriber as part of this FAQ.

22) What should I not send to the list?

A few subjects, while not taboo, tend to arouse acrimony and are better left alone. These subjects tend to fall into the category of 'advocacy': conflicts about strongly held beliefs that are impossible to prove. Here are a few examples: the relative merits of AYSO and USYSA; whether coaches should teach players illegal tactics such as jersey-pulling; whether winning is more important than having fun; whether it is better to teach tactics that win games or to concentrate on long-term player development. List members are also asked to refrain from posting league or national team results and discussing games unless the discussion has clear coaching relevance, and to refrain from unduly prolonging threads by repeating what has already been said.

Many subjects tend to come up at regular intervals on the list, and it may irritate some people if you request information on something which was discussed just before you subscribed. Before requesting information from the list, therefore, new list members should 'lurk' for a while before posting, and should consult the list archives and archived files to see what material may already have been posted [see section V, 'Other services'].

Two other categories of messages to avoid sending to the list: replies which should be addressed to an individual rather than to all list members, especially 'me too' responses to offers of material, and personal flames, strongly-worded criticism and ad hominen remarks. These should always be sent privately by taking a moment to edit the "To:" field of the message -- remember that by default your reply will go to all list members, and can make you look very foolish indeed in front of several hundred people.

In exchange for overseeing the software which connects list members to voluminous coaching information and opinion, the list owner reserves the right to make unilateral decisions about individual subscribers or messages if he feels the need to take action immediately. He almost never exercises this power, however. Examples of behaviour which might prompt him to do so include a) personality-flaming or serious and repeated insistence on arguing unresolvable issues bitterly in public (see above), b) repeated submission of commercial mail (i.e. advertising), and c) blatant abuse of the list in any other way.

Like any good referee, however, he will always try to have a 'quiet word' in private with list members before taking action of this kind. The primary exceptions to this rule involve cases where a list member's computer account has been disconnected or disabled, thereby generating an endless stream of error messages (see question 19).

23) Are there some posting conventions of which I should be aware?

Yes. There aren't many, but you should definitely read this section carefully before posting to the list for the first time.

  1. Please send only ASCII text messages.

    Not everyone will have a mailer as fancy as yours. If you use a mailer (e.g. Outlook) that's configured to send HTML, RTF or styled text as the default, please configure to send only plain text when you post to the list. If you want to include ASCII diagrams with your postings, here are some useful tips:

    Guidelines for Displaying ASCII-based Diagrams

    Many contributors to this list seek to clarify a particular training session exercise or setup by providing an accompanying ASCII-text based diagram. While there exist more graphic forms, such as jpeg, bmp, gif and tif files as well as movies (.avi, .mpeg), ASCII based diagrams are a common denominator for all systems. To maximize the chances that your diagrams can be viewed by recipients in as close to the original form, the following suggestions are made:

    1. Use a fixed-width (non-proportional) font such as Courier (or variations thereof), Monaco, Mishawaka.
    2. Use spaces instead of tabs.
    3. Insert line feeds by explicitly pressing the key (also known as the carriage return key from the days of typewriters), rather than relying on the automatic wrap-around feature of your e-mail or word processor program.
    4. Try to keep the diagram to no more than 65 characters per line. This, combined with the advice to place an explicit carraige return at the end of every line should address the issue of some e-mail/word processor programs auto-wrapping a line around the 72nd character and beyond, as well as allowing room for the special characters indicating message forwarding or quoted text (e.g. &rt;&rt;).
    5. Stick to the ASCII printable character set and avoid additional formatting (bold, underlining, bullets, italics, color, voice annotation, sound effects).
    6. For very complex diagrams, consider using a ruled line to provide reference (fiduciary) marks along the horizontal axis. For example,
    7. Do not use different colors - assume the recipient will be viewing your diagram on a monochrome display.
    8. Upon receipt of a post containing a diagram, highlight the relevant portions and change to a fixed-width font.

  2. Quoted material from other postings

    The users of this mailing list prefer to conform to the Internet/NetNews convention of appending new material AFTER the minimum quoted portion of the message to which the new stuff refers. Please be courteous! Trim down the text from the original message so that your reply includes ONLY the minimum quotation necessary to establish context.

  3. Signature

    It is also considered good form on the Internet to have a "signature" that reasonably identifies you. "CB Handle" style screen names like AOL uses are NOT an example of this, and members of SOCCER-COACH-L like to know the real name of anyone who's posting something to the list. A particularly offensive instance is when a new user blurts out a request for information with no signature and no information on location, type of team or age level. This makes it very difficult to respond appropriately to the info request, which is likely just to be ignored.

  4. Identification of message content and target group

    While most of the topics discussed on SOCCER-COACH-L have at least some applicability to both genders and all age groups, many are of immediate interest only to a restricted group of coaches. This is especially true if you're looking for help with your own team. If you're coaching U10 rec players, you may not want to receive a lot of suggestions designed around a team of U19 players who intend to win the USA Cup next year. The solution to this problem, as suggested by Victor Aulestia (aulestia@UMBC.EDU), is to remember to post (*either in your subject line or as the first line of your message*, where people can see it before reading the whole message) a simple shorthand notation which will clearly identify your own team for the other members of the list.

    The most important aspects to identify seem to be the following ones:

    CategoryHow to identify
    AgeU10, U17 (etc)
    GenderB (male), G (female)
    Levelrec / comp (recreational vs competitive)
    Location country or continent

    Please stay away from terms which are likely to be meaningless or confusing to coaches in other systems (e.g. ODP, Premier, Select, travel, Classic), or take a moment to explain exactly what you mean by them.

V. Other services

24) What else is available from the SOCCER-COACH-L listserv?

Two types of files are available.

  1. Archived postings

    All past postings from SOCCER-COACH-L are available from the listserv. The best way to view these is through the web, where the entire collection can be searched in order to locate postings of potential interest. To search the archives, go to

    If you do not have web access, send



    This command will return a list of all available archive files, which you can then order by sending


    For example, to get the archived postings for the first week of May 1996, you would send

  2. Archived files

    In addition to the regular list archives, certain files may be made available separately. These are typically reports of high-level clinics or files containing the collected wisdom of list members about topics which come up frequently. To see a list of these files, send


    to; to order one of the files, send

    GET filename.filetype


    For example, to request this file, you would send

    GET coach.faq
25) Can I get these files via ftp?

Sorry, no; security considerations do not permit it. The list archives can be retrieved via the World-Wide Web, however (see questions 24 and 27).

26) What else can LISTSERV do for me?

Several other features are available. For a list of possible LISTSERV commands, send mail to consisting of


You can also view the complete listserv documentation by visiting

27) What are the list archives and where can I find them?

You may see frequent references on the list to 'searching the archives'. All postings since May, 1996 are available, either from the listserv or through the web interface to the list. You can retrieve the individual archive files for each week (see above, question 24.b) or search the archives by going to These thousands of postings are a gold mine of information.

28) What other web support is available?

A fair amount, actually. The list web page is located at

Links may be found on that page to this FAQ and to a number of other sites.

As mentioned above (questions 24 and 27), the list archives are also available through the web. As well, you can now manage your list subscription using the web interface. Simply go to the list archives and click on any week listed; you should see a toolbar with a number of buttons, some of which can be used to send subscription management commands to the listserv. Many people find this easier than sending commands by mail.

Two other web-based list projects should also be mentioned. These are the LOTG pages and the Basic Coaching Manual, to be found respectively at

These are collective projects created by list members for coaches everywhere and are well worth visiting and recommending to others.

29) What are some other good online soccer-coaching sources?

Wow. That question goes way beyond what this FAQ can answer, but one of the best places to start is list member Ron Tremper's list of Internet coaching resources at

On a more serious note, and one which is not soccer-specific, every coach, especially those who work with young athletes, should visit the Harassment and Abuse in Sport pages at

30) What if this FAQ didn't answer my question?

Send mail directly to David Graham (