Coaching youth soccer is no easy feat, there are so many things you need to take into consideration on and off the pitch. The purpose of this post is to go over the 12 most valuable tips for coaching youth soccer that I have learned over the years. You don’t need to be an expert to implement these pieces of advice, you can start at your next practice!
12 of the best tips for coaching youth soccer
Promoting teamwork and sportsmanship takes priority
Above everything else, promote sportsmanship and collaboration.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that winning games are not everything in youth soccer.
It aims to foster in players a sense of collaboration, sportsmanship, and passion for the game.
Encourage players to help one another both on and off the field, to play fairly at all times, and to show their opponents respect.
Not only are you coaching your players to get better at soccer but you are also trying to help them develop as a person too!
Practices should be fun and engaging
Keep drills entertaining and interesting.
It’s critical to keep young athletes engaged throughout the training.
They won’t want to return if they’re not having a good time.!
To make practices exciting, use a variety of drills and activities, and be willing to give new ideas a try.
You should also accommodate your drills for the abilities you are coaching.
If a group of players finds the drill too easy, they will not engage because the challenge is too low.
Equally, if an activity is too hard the players will lose interest because they feel they cannot achieve the end goal.
This can be hard, especially if you have a wide range of abilities in your team.
I wrote a post on 10 essentials for making soccer practice fun.
Keep your players hydrated
Make sure the athletes are well hydrated.
Making ensuring athletes are adequately hydrated before, during, and after practices and games is crucial.
Encourage them to carry water bottles to every session and to drink plenty of water (you may even need to email parents to remind them too).
When coaching youth soccer kids will often need to be reminded to drink water, as they don’t see this as a priority.
Players who are dehydrated are more likely to become injured and perform to a lower level than their teammates who are hydrated.
Promote risk-taking in your practices
Encourage players to experiment with various positions and talents.
Soccer players like trying new things and experimenting with various positions and talents.
To help your players become the best players they can be they must be prepared to take risks and make mistakes.
As well as encouraging them to take risks it is important that you help identify the mistakes they made and what they need to change to get better for next time.
Encourage your team to be open-minded, and don’t be hesitant to test out various lineups and formations.
Here is a list of different youth soccer positions and formations you can use
Build your players’ confidence
To instill confidence, use encouraging reinforcement.
Sometimes, what makes great coaches is not their expertise in an area but their ability to build positive coaching relationships with their players.
In order to boost young players’ confidence, it is crucial to provide positive reinforcement.
When they do well, congratulate them, and when they need to improve, provide them with detailed, constructive criticism.
Players who are confident in their own abilities will perform at a higher level than those who are less confident.
Encourage players to always give 100% and try their best
Encourage athletes to constantly exert their full effort.
Players must be taught the value of giving their best on the field.
Even if they aren’t playing their best, exhort them to constantly put up their best effort.
As a coach, I do not care how good or bad a player is doing as long as they are giving 100% and that’s how you should be too!
When players give 100% not only do they set themselves to the standard they also set the standard for their teammates too.
When you have a group of players who are committed to giving everything in practices and games, you will really notice how quickly they progress.
Teach your players how to respect
Instill in your athletes the value of treating teammates, coaches, and opponents with respect.
Teaching athletes to respect their teammates, coaches, and opponents is crucial.
Encourage them to be excellent sports and to behave politely and respectfully at all times.
Remember you are teaching them how to be good people, not just to be good at soccer!
Showing respect can come in different forms including:
- How you speak to the opposition, officials, and teammates
- How do you react to winning and losing
- Your body language
Have patience with your players
Players need your patience, so keep in mind that they are still learning and developing.
As a coach, you will need to accept that not everything will go to plan and you will have to adjust either through your errors or the players’ errors.
Try and take a step back and assess what is happening before deciding the next course of action.
Be kind to them and try not to lose your temper if they make mistakes.
Encourage them to keep working hard and to learn from their errors.
Players know when they make mistakes, the last thing they want is the coach highlighting those mistakes in an unproductive manner.
Communication with players, parents, and other coaches
Communicate with players, parents, and other coaches in a straightforward and succinct manner.
It’s crucial to communicate with players, parents, and other coaches in a clear and simple manner.
This is often overlooked by a youth soccer coach, but communicating with other coaches and parents is incredibly important.
Throughout the season, make sure there is clear communication and that everyone is on the same page.
This can include how you speak to the players, as well as emailing and keeping parents up to date with practices and games.
You may need to communicate with parents to solve any conflicts within the team too!
This a post you may find interesting, it goes over how soccer players communicate with each other.
Be a role model for your players
It’s critical that coaches serve as positive role models for their athletes both on and off the field.
This entails setting a positive example at all times and acting with respect, discipline, and good sportsmanship.
You may assist your athletes in creating a positive attitude by using these suggestions and becoming a positive role model.
Kids in general are very impressionable and it’s important as a coach that you are aware of the role you play when coaching them.
This means how you talk, your actions, and how you act will be under the microscope of your players.
Create a positive team culture
Additionally, it’s critical for coaches to foster a supportive and diverse team environment.
No matter their experience level or ability level, all soccer players should be welcomed and supported.
Encourage players to help one another out and better themselves to grow as teammates and individuals.
Youth soccer coaching tips | Conclusion
The tips for coaching youth soccer hints are intended to help coaches provide their players with a great and joyful experience while also assisting in the development of their abilities and game knowledge.
Coaches may assist players in discovering a passion for the game and realizing their full potential by fostering collaboration and good sportsmanship, making practices exciting and interesting, and instructing players in the correct soccer techniques and strategies.
These are actually 3 of the 10 best qualities all soccer coaches should have!
Coaches should also build a healthy team culture that is inclusive and encouraging of all players. They should also be patient with their players and acknowledge that they are still learning.
You can assist your players to enjoy playing soccer and realize their full potential by using these suggestions and becoming positive role models for them.
If you are putting together a new youth soccer team then these are the 10 best soccer tryout drills to use.
Remember you don’t have to have played soccer to be a soccer coach, these are my best tips for coaches with no experience playing soccer.
If you found these tips for coaching youth soccer helpful or know someone that will please share them with them!
My Soccer Coaching Equipment
If you opened my coaching bag this is the soccer equipment you’d find!