Understanding Some of the Basics in Coaching Youth Soccer

I'm a soccer coach now...What do I do? - (Wikihow.com)

Many people who become youth soccer coaches have never played in a soccer game or may have never even touched a soccer ball.  But, due to some belief in volunteering or through the support of their child on a team, these people find themselves as the head coach of a real soccer team.  The grand question they must all ask is: what now?  Here are some of the basic things a coach who is new to soccer needs to understand.

A coach needs to learn and understand the rules of soccer, and absolutely needs to teach the players about them as well.  Rules are posted all over the internet, and you probably will receive some sort of instruction from your league that has its specific rules.  Learn them!  This is a major responsibility for a coach and a soccer team.

Come in with a great attitude.  Coaching youth soccer really isn’t about winning, so factor that out of the equation immediately.  You need to make sure that your players have a fun time and develop in the sport of soccer.  Praise good work and effort by the team.  When someone makes an alarming error that blows a game, don’t single them out and yell at them for it.  Help them get better by focusing on the positive aspects of their game.

Another thing that a youth soccer coach must deal with is fairness.  Most of your players will absolutely hate being thrown into the goalie position, but someone has to do it.  If no one on your team is completely thrilled about being goalie, make the players take turns.  Even if one player is willing and able, let them still play half of every game on the outfield to gain experience.

Likewise, most of your players will want to play striker so they have chances to score goals.  Be sure to mix up your players’ positions and never make someone feel left out of the game.

Substitutions are a constant worry in youth soccer and should have your full focus.  Players should all receive a pretty equal amount of playing time each game, so be aware of who has been on the bench and for how long.  Don’t get so caught up in winning the big game that you forget about someone on your team.  It can leave painful effects on a young player.

A final point to make about coaching is to be organized and on time.  The coach should be at practice at least 15 minutes before the scheduled practice time so that players are greeted with a warm face when they arrive, and so you have time to set things up.  This will enable your practices to run smoothly and efficiently.  Also, nothing is worse than a coach telling you how you aught to behave when they themselves arrive late to events.  Similarly, the coach needs to be arriving for games rather early as well.  This way, your team will be ready to play and ready to succeed.  But most importantly, make sure that the upcoming season is a positive one for the players and inspires them to keep playing the beautiful game of soccer.


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