Balls, cones and kids
the footy4kids soccer coaching
24 - February 2007
Over the years I've found this list of key messages to be very useful, both
at training and at matches.
You could pick one of the messages as a focus for your next training
session, add one to the next newsletter, email or text message to your
players or (like me!) keep one in your 'back pocket' for use in
pre-match or half time team talks.
25 key messages for young soccer players
1. Always play fairly,
according to the spirit and letter of the rules.
Stay calm under difficult conditions. It's easy to maintain
composure when things go right; when they don't real athletes step
forward and stand up to the test.
Support and encourage your teammates at all times. All of us make
mistakes at times and they are not done on purpose. Encourage your
teammates to be the best they can be.
Play as hard as you can
in practice and in games. Never be beaten
because of lack of effort. Even opponents who are bigger or more
skilled than you can be beaten if you out-hustle them.
Show respect to your coaches, referees, and your opponents; win
A good soccer player
must have conditioning, skills and tactical knowledge. A player must
work on all three to be the best they can be.
your team has the football, everyone is an attacker; when your opponent has
the ball everyone is a defender.
matter what position you are in, you are first a soccer
player and you will have to be able to receive, shoot,
pass, dribble, head, make space, etc., regardless of your position.
Do not just "kick" the ball unless it is in a dangerous position in
front of your goal. Instead take a " picture " of the situation before
you get the ball. In this way you can perceive the situation,
determine the best solution, and act accordingly when the ball
arrives. Develop Field Vision. Always send the
ball to someplace or someone.
10. Always maintain your
position. Don't run following the movement of the ball. Know where you
are on the field in relation to where the other players and positions
are on the field.
11. Don't run forward
when your team has the ball unless you are willing to run back when
the other team has the ball.
12. If you lose the
ball, you should be the first person to defend. Giving immediate
chase is the first rule of defence.
13. When changing from
attack to defence, sprint to get between your opponent and the goal
you are defending.
14. When defending close
to your goal, the player closest to the ball should attack the ball.
The other defenders should "mark" other opponents who could receive
and shoot the ball. In "marking up" your opponent, you should position
yourself between the ball and your opponent and prevent them from
receiving the ball. A common error on defence is to have too
many defenders move to the ball leaving
opponents open to receive a pass and score an unopposed goal.
15. On the defensive
side of the field, always move the ball toward the touchlines and away
from the middle of the field. On the offensive side of the field move
the ball toward the centre, where your teammates can take a good shot
on goal. This is "centering" the ball.
16. Good ball handlers
pass the ball before they get into trouble not after they are in
17. Make no small
strikes on the ball. Whether clearing, passing or shooting MOVE the
ball. Proper technique on striking the ball will enable even small
players to effectively move the ball a good distance.
18. Take your shot!
Don't hesitate to fire a shot if you feel an
opportunity. Shoot into the back of the net. Shoot where the keeper
19. Don't limit yourself
to shots taken only near the goal line. Good opportunities for goals
are hard shots taken further out from the goal. Keep your head down,
strike and follow through the ball for the goal.
20. Most players are
right-footed. At this level, when playing defence against an opponent
with the ball especially watch and attack against the right foot.
When playing offence with
possession of the ball, anticipate your defender attacking your right
foot. Use your left foot. It is imperative that you
develop your passing, dribbling, and shooting skills with both your
left and right foot.
22. Always be aware of
protecting possession of the ball. Resist
"kicking" the ball directly into the shin guards of the defender in
front of you. Passing or dribbling the ball laterally or even
backwards can be a better choice if it maintains possession of the
23. When on offence
always "support" your teammate with the ball. Supporting your teammate
means being in a position where they can pass the ball to you. Stay
far enough away so the pass effectively neutralizes the defender. Stay
close enough so they can make a good pass. If you are too far to make
a good pass to your teammate, then you are too far for your teammate
to make a good pass to you, and you are not supporting.
24.Win, lose or tie; if
you have given 100%, when you walk off the field you have nothing to
regret and no reason to be ashamed.
25. Don't be afraid to
be a hero. YOU CAN DO IT!
Originally submitted to the
Soccer-Coach-L e-mail list by Barry Murtaugh