The “Coaches Corner” is designed for those newer coaches seeking information to help them in their newly acquired choice to be a Soccer Coach. First off, thank you very much for donating your time.
Some coaches are skeptical when they are asked to coach their child’s soccer team. The fear lies in the unknown. There are some important tips that will make your first time as a soccer coach a pleasant one for players, parents, and most of all you.
- Have FUN! Have a good time and make it FUN for the players. A coach’s interaction with the players should always be positive and the more the coach engages with the kids, the more they will respond.
- Be FAIR. Being fair is very important too. It’s a coach’s job to make sure each player has equal playing time, make sure players play each position, and be sure to include everyone.
- Be POSITIVE. Being positive includes every interaction with players, parents, officials, and other coaches. It’s always good to set this standard at the beginning of the year so that your parents and players are all on the same wave length.
- Ask for Parent Involvement. At the beginning of the year, ask for parent assistance during practice. This will help get parents involved with their child’s play and will help you reduce the player/coach ratio. This is especially helpful in younger players. For young players, try to keep the ratio about 4 kids to each coach. As the kids get older, the ratio can grow as much as 8 kids for each coach. This ratio will depend greatly on your kid’s age and skill.
- Focus on TEAMWORK. As a coach, you often will have one or two star players on your team. It is important to grow these players and make them even stronger players; however, it is important to focus on teamwork to get the work done.
- Set GROUND RULES. Before the season starts, meet with the team and parents and establish the ground rules. You will want to cover things such as:
- sideline behavior – make sure they know they are welcome to cheer, but it is up to the coach and the assistant to do the coaching;
- have players arrive to practice and games on time;
- notify the coach if absent or late to game or practice;
- players are to sit with the team while not in the game and not in mommy’s lap;
- Know what to practice. As a new coach, it is hard to come up with games that are appropriate for that level of player. Make sure you check out the soccer drills section of this site to get fun ideas for your level of player. Make sure you are playing small-sided games with younger kids which will focus on game-like situations. Make sure you prepare properly and have everything you need to coach soccer. Also check out the SoccerXpert tip on Making a soccer Lesson Plan.
- Take Coaching Courses. Many associations will offer coaching education. I encourage you to spend the extra time to become educated and seek help from experienced coaches.
In closing, I simply encourage you to accept the coaching position if you are given the opportunity. It might seem scary at first, but there are many resources in which you can learn to become an effective coach. It does take some practice, so don’t expect to be perfect your first go-round. Every season will be a learning experience and make sure you learn from your mistakes.
Important list of necessities for every soccer coach:
- First on the list is a soccer ball for every player. I encourage players to each bring a ball, but I also have a supply of 5-8 balls that I always bring to my training sessions just incase.
- Second item on the list is a ball pump as it is impossible to play soccer with flat balls.
- A supply of disk cones. I generally keep a supply of 30-40 with me at all times. You never know when you need to build a large grid or sidelines to a game. I use disk cones at almost every training session at least once.
- Next, a small supply of tall cones. I usually keep 6-8 tall cones handy when I need a small goal or window to stand out from the disk cones.
- Practice vests are a must. Small sided games and drills are important to the development of youth players and players must know who’s who. Colored practice vests are crucial to successful small sided games.
- Practice Sticks or corner flags. Both of these items are great for visual boundaries, goals, and fitness training. These are very versatile and are an important part of some of the trainings on SoccerXpert.
- A Small fold away goal or Pugg goal are great for small sided games. It takes the guessing out of whether or not the goal was scored and reduces player confrontation. With small fold away goals it’s either in or it’s out. This is a must have for all age groups.
- For older kids (U-12 and above) you should have access to a full size goal or own a portable full size goal. These are not cheap, so find a sponsor or have the team pitch in to buy this item.
- Another “item” necessary for a successful practice is for the coach to be EARLY to set up the practice. The coach should plan on arriving 15-20 minutes before the team arrives in order to set up the practice field. Being organized is very important for a successful practice and this helps by setting the field early.
- Probably the most important “item” is A GOOD PLAN. Have a written plan of your practice and write down coaching points and highlights to talk to the players about. Don’t be scared to refer to your plan if you forget a drill or talking point. This help you stay organized and the players get the full benefit of your coaching abilities.
- Last but definitely not least, you need players. Make sure your team arrives to practices early ready to go when practice starts.
Hopefully you will find this section useful. If you have any suggestions or useful information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOCCER LINKS – DRILLS, RULES, ETC.: