effective youth soccer coaching
"Kids' football (soccer) is all about the individual loving
the game: dribbling and shooting, playing games and scoring goals, experimenting and
copying. It is very simple and lots of fun.
Adult football is all about the team and results. It is physical,
tactical, complicated and very serious."
Tom Statham of Manchester United Academy
Perhaps the most
important 'key' to successful youth soccer coaching is this:
always aim to make the
training sessions fun for everyone - including you!
But...you can only do
this with the aid of careful planning. Always think about what you want your team to
achieve in the long term as well as today. Have a plan.
It is important that your
training sessions take the ages and capabilities of your children into
account (click here for advice on how to plan sessions for
young children) but most soccer coaching sessions follow this pattern:
a warm up to raise the heart rate of your children,
stretch their muscles and get them focused on the session;
a quick and
of the skill/technique that you want them to learn**
**Don't forget to ASK them what they
think is the best way to pass or shoot or keep the ball etc. rather than TELL them
why you think they should do it that way.
some fun games
that will allow them to practice what you've just shown them. Play lots of SSGs - small sided games are better than 6 or 7 a side;
a small sided game (scrimmage) with no
intervention from you to finish the session.
Don't be tempted to adopt a 'P.E'
style of coaching - while it's important to plan
your sessions be careful not to make them too rigid. Be prepared to adapt according to
what you see and hear on the practice field. Above all, don't be afraid to let your
children play! Read this article
for more on soccer coaching style.
Don't try to pack too
much in - remember to allow time for discussion, setting up, drinks, arguments etc!
Don't persevere with a
plan that obviously isn't working. Have a couple of tried and tested alternatives up
your sleeve and work out what went wrong afterwards.
Don't use 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 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. If you still have have trouble with
discipline issues, read this.
Also, you must consider child
protection issues, especially if you're training a mixed
group of boys and girls. I always have a female assistant if I'm training girls.
If you are looking for something specific, try the site map.
Or visit the Better Soccer Coaching free soccer drills
archive with over 300 drills and games for youth coaches
Alternatively, check out these soccer
coaching books and manuals
If you still can't find what you're looking
for, send me the details and I'll try to help.
official Football Association guide to basic team coaching
to Coach a Soccer Team: Professional Advice on Training Plans, Skill Drills, and Tactical