Soccer coaching’s cardinal sins

This list has made me reflect on my coaching style and try to be a better coach the next time I step onto the coaching field.

Hopefully, it will do the same job for you!

  • The coach boring the group with long-winded speeches.
  • The coach complicating the exercise by offering too much information and by elaborating on the chosen theme by involving too many phases of play.
  • Skills practices becoming endurance work.
  • Forgetting to agree ground rules with the players.
  • Not planning a coaching session in advance.
  • Sticking too rigidly to a session plan!
  • The coach following the ball around instead of observing from a detached position.
  • The coach acting as ball-boy.
  • The coach failing to demonstrate.
  • Ball-boys taking part in the exercise.
  • Poor organization of the footballs.
  • Not having a football per player at training sessions.
  • The coach offering instructions while running.
  • Criticizing a child (rather than the behaviour).
  • Not discussing or involving parents/carers.
  • Lack of awareness of space required for a particular exercise – forgetting that lines and bodies limit the area.
  • The coach failing to communicate the purpose of the exercise to each player.
  • The coach speaking in generalizations.
  • Failing to consider the health and safety of the players.
  • The coach offering a running commentary.
  • Spectators and additional players encroaching on the field.
  • The coach trying to demonstrate something which he cannot do (Steve: I do this a lot!!)
  • Using drills that involve children standing in lines for more than a few seconds.
  • The coach failing to spot flaws in the practice and subsequently neglecting to make appropriate corrections.

Forgetting that the teaching process involves:

a. communicating the instructions;

b. organizing the practice;

c. offering the key teaching points.