For those who have not coached before coaching can be difficult, even more so if you’re to new the sport as well. This post aims to give parent coaching advice, hints, and tips on all the things I wish someone told me before I started coaching to help you hit the floor running with your sessions.
For some of my examples in my explanations, I’m going to be focusing on soccer but all of these coaching tips will be appropriate across all youth sports.
If you want to speed up the development of your players, the best way for you to do this is to improve your knowledge as a coach.
Parent Coaching Advice: Controlling kids
From my experience being able to have good group management is one of the most important skills I’ve learned while coaching and the best advice I can give someone looking to coach.
Being able to effectively get kids to listen and stay on task was one of the most challenging things as a coach when I first started. Here are some techniques you can use to help kids listen and stay on task:
- Keep phrases and explanations short and sweet
Kids tend to zone out fairly quickly so it’s important to give them small snippets of information that they can easily understand. Use cadence in your voice to highlight keywords or phrases
This is a great way to get kids to come in a group, start from 5 down to 1 and it’ll immediately become a race and nobody wants to be last.
- Learn names
This is a fairly self-explanatory one, learn the names of the kids you are coaching. It becomes easier to praise an individual and get them focused if they’re not paying attention
- points mean prizes
This is a great method because you can give as many points out as you and you can use it for anything from objectives in an activity to being the first one to be quiet or collecting equipment at the end.
Again it turns things into a competition and no one wants to be last. Implementing a point system is also a great way to make an activity competitive without the use of other players.
Example phrases could be
‘ if you do x you can get x amount of points’
‘First person to be quiet gets x amount of points’
‘Whoever collects the most amount of equipment gets x amount of points’
Parent Coaching Advice: No knowledge of the sport? No problem
I think the biggest concern many people have is that they need to know loads about the sport to be a great coach, although to a certain extent that is true I feel with young players the most important thing is to focus on creating a positive relationship with them and a fun environment they can learn in.
When kids enjoy something they’ll learn a lot quicker and the more eager they’ll be to get better.
My advice would also be to think about how you can communicate with your players. you may find it awkward at first but the more you engage with them and get on their level the easier it’ll become and you’ll start to build a positive relationship with your players, show them you’re there to have fun too. if they like you the chances are they’ll listen to you more as well, anyone can do this!
- Find out if they have any favorite teams or players
- Ask if they have any other hobbies
- What they learned today at school
It doesn’t always have to be sport-related, just something to help break the ice and to find common interests.
Parent Coaching Advice: How and what should I coach?
The most important thing for players to develop is to have as much repetition of skill as they can, so you want to focus your activities around this.
For example, playing fun dribbling games in soccer is a great way for them to get as many touches on the ball as they can in a short period. You can click here for some fun games that will help focus on getting the players moving with a ball at their feet in a fun environment.
Here are some coaching points you can use to help your players know what they should be focusing on and how to become successful at dribbling and passing in soccer:
- small touches to keep the ball close
- Use both feet
- You can use the inside, outside, laces, and sole of your foot to control the ball
- Pass using the inside of your foot
- Accelerate to get away from defenders
- Change direction to get away from defenders
You don’t have to focus on all the coaching points at once, just pick 2 or 3 of these coaching points at a session at a time. When you’re coaching try and give your players small pieces of information at a time, whether it be the coaching points or explaining an activity.
Try and avoid long-winded explanations, and condense what you’re saying into the key points that can be easily understood by the players. This may not come naturally but the more you practice the better you get!
Parent coaching advice: Be organized
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
When you arrive at your coaching session make sure you know what activities and soccer games you are going to coach with coaching points too, even if you have to bring them on a rough piece of paper to jog your memory. It’s better to be prepared than not at all.
Kids will also pick up when a session is thrown together or if the coach is not organized, kids will start to become unfocused and play up.
Piece of Advice
My final and most important piece of parent coaching advice, remember you’re in a learning process along with your players, don’t be afraid to make mistakes!
You’ll learn from them and become better for them too. Learn to accept that not all sessions will go how you would like them to and that kids have a wonderfully unique way of making things not go to plan, so be patient and learn how to take a step back and assess what’s going on before acting.
As your players develop I would recommend that you try and get a deeper understanding of the sport you are coaching so you’re able to carry on guiding them in the right direction.
Use other coaches as resources as well, watch not only the content of their sessions but also observe how they interact with their players. Everyone has their styles so it’s about finding the style that works best for you.
I hope this has given you some practical advice that you can take forward in your coaching sessions if you have any more questions please leave a comment or a message and I can get back to you!