Coaching Points to Remember

(Copied w/ permission from John Smith Soccer School)

ATTITUDE: The coach s attitude counts for everything!

  • Keep things simple and clear.
  • Be positive and use positive language. Applaud good play.
  • Be organized.
  • Keep things in perspective: You are the adult.
  • Let them play.
  • Show them how to have good, honest fun.
  • Earn their respect: SPORTSMANSHIP

If you do not plan your practice session it will turn out haphazard at best. The players will develop haphazard playing habits. A whole raft of problems will begin to arise that seem to have little to do with practice and much to do with things like enthusiasm, discipline, attendance, respect and interest.

The enthusiasm of the entire group is strongly affected by the manner in which the coach sets about things.

Being well-organized and able to move a practice briskly to its conclusion improves the atmosphere. It encourages good playing habits and will positively affect the team s performance in many ways - (enthusiastic players are seldom injury-prone and almost never present discipline problems.)

Being well-organized is not difficult in this context and requires little more than fifteen minutes thought at sometime before you arrive at the practice site.

Planning a successful practice is a skill. As with any skill it will take some time to develop. Each time out should be a learning experience - it is for the most experienced coaches!


Commanding the attention of players is a vital coaching skill. The quality of your activities, the ability to interest players and positively command their attention are the pillars upon which the success of your training will rest.

Anybody can command attention negatively by intimidating the players. That will backfire every single time.

1) The Soccer Coach

a) Philosophy

i) Proper goals for a youth soccer coach.

(1) Define success:

(a) How well the team plays.

(b) How many play the next season.

(c) Reaching individual performance goals.

b) Ethics

i) Commitment to a high standard of conduct.

ii) League standards.

c) Soccer: The Player s Game - The Game is the Teacher

i) Meet the demands of the game, not the coach.

ii) Learn from playing, not from drills.

iii) Playing at speed is necessary to acquire skill.

iv) Players must have maximum number of ball touches.

v) Train players by using small number games.

d) Coaching

i) Identifying problems:

(a) What did and did not happen in the game?

(b) Is the problem technical or tactical?

(c) Is the problem individual or team?

ii) Correcting problems:

(a) Tell why the problem is occurring.

(b) Show how the problem can be corrected.

(c) Coaching correction sequence.

(i) Identify mistake/problem.

(ii) Recognize teachable moment to interrupt play.

(iii) Stop/freeze the play.

(iv) Make the coaching point to correct.

(v) "Paint" the correct picture by having the coach demonstrate and then having the player perform the correct picture while the action is stopped.

(vi) Restart the exercise with correct movement to ensure success.

2) Components of Soccer Coaching

a) Techniques - best taught in small numbers

i) Fundamental

(a) No pressure from opponent; add movement as quickly as possible.

(b) Towards execution at top speed: technique to skill.

(i) Technique is the absolute ability to perform a motor skill.

(ii) Skill is the application of technique in a game setting.

ii) Game Related

(a) Pressure is introduced from an opponent.

(b) Add incremental pressure by changing:

(i) Size of the space.

(ii) Number of players in the space.

(iii) What players are permitted to do in the space - restrictions.

(iv) The time permitted.

iii) Game Condition

(a) All restrictions taken off defender.

(b) Involves counter attack to goals with goalkeepers.

(c) Does not have to be 11 vs. 11 or even numbered exercise.

b) Tactics - usually taught in thirds of the field

i) Individual tactics - 1 vs. 1

(1) Player with the ball versus the pressurizing defender

ii) Group Tactics - 6 vs. 6 (5 vs. 5 + goalkeepers)

(1) A soccer game is a series of group tactical situations in the immediate area of the ball, tied together by changes in the point of attack.

(2) Groups can be organized as 2 vs. 2, 2 vs. 3, 3 vs. 2, etc., or by players combining in specific areas, e.g., the right wing, right midfielder and center striker.

(3) Group tactics are usually taught in stages, which become more game like in each stage.

(a) In a confined space where the first objective is possession.

(b) To a target within the confined space.

(c) To one goal (preferably a large goal).

(d) To one goal with a counter attack option to a second goal.

(e) Team Tactics - 7 vs. 7 to 11 vs. 11

(4) Imprint positioning, emphasizing the principles of play as it affects the team as opposed to the individual player.

(5) Counter attack if possible, if not, build through possession.

(6) Go forward if possible, if not, go backwards and change the point of attack.