Youth soccer coaching tips that work
Perhaps the most important coaching tip to realise effective youth soccer coaching is making training sessions fun for everyone - including you. Follow these guidelines to boost your soccer coaching success.
One of the most important elements of success in soccer (football) coaching is careful planning. Always think about what it is you want to achieve beforehand.
Your soccer coaching session plan should take into account the ages and capabilities of your players, but generally your soccer coaching should follow this pattern:
- A warm-up soccer drill to raise players' heart rate, stretch muscles and get players focused on the training session.
- A quick and simple demonstration of the skill or technique that you want them to learn in their drills. (Important: don’t forget to ask your players what they think is the best way to pass or shoot or keep the ball, rather than tell them why you think they should do it that way).
- Some fun games that will allow them to practise the skills you’ve just shown them during the soccer drills.
- A small-sided soccer game to finish.
While it’s important to plan your soccer (football) coaching sessions, be careful not to make them too rigid. Be prepared to adapt according to what you see and hear on the training field. Above all, don’t be afraid to let your players play!
- Don’t try to pack too much in to your drill sessions – remember to allow time for discussion, setting-up, drinks, and even arguments.
- Don’t persevere with a plan that isn’t working. Have a couple of tried and tested alternatives up your sleeve and work out what went wrong afterwards.
- Don’t use soccer (football) drills that involve children standing in lines for more than a few seconds – they’ll soon get bored and bored children are trouble!
- Don’t train children on your own. Always have at least one coaching assistant, even if all they do is tie laces and fetch balls. There is also an important health and safety consideration here: who will look after your children if you have to take one of them to hospital?
- Do treat your players with respect. They like you to listen and take notice of their feelings and opinions. Find out what they want from you and agree some clear ground rules.
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