Coaching Young Soccer Players

Any and every coach aims to make the training session a fun-filled and enjoyable learning experience for each individual player and himself. This arduous task requires meticulous and careful planning considering multifarious goals in mind. It is essential that the coach takes into account as to what he wants the team to achieve in the long term and without ignoring the immediate benefits of the training.

Have a plan

The idea is to have a plan. A youth soccer team would have in the team players of various ages and skills and talent. It is vital that the coach incorporates the capabilities and the needs of the variety of ages of the children. Let us look at the standard format for training the youth soccer team:

The first step of the training session is a thorough warm-up session aimed at raising the heart rate of the children. The warm-up should also include stretching exercises to stretch their muscles and exercises which bring their singular focus on the session.

This should be followed by specific technique training. You can start by providing a simple and quick demonstration of the technique or the skill, you would like the team to learn and practise. So that the session is participatory, it is essential that you also ask the players opinion on what they would think is the best way to shoot the ball, pass the ball or keep the ball. This is a better approach than imposing your technique on the players.

Then to keep them to practice and help them master relevant techniques or skills, as a coach you should integrate some fun games in the daily training plan. You have to allow them to play and practise. The best way to do this is to play a lot of small-sided games.

To finish off the session, pick up a small-sided game or a scrimmage – remember to not intervene and let the players play.

Not to Dos

Now, that we have a standard plan of training let us look at some of the “Not-to-Dos” for a youth soccer coach:

1. It is recommended that you do not adopt a P.E. coaching style and refrain from making your sessions too rigid. This is best to be flexible and adapt to the practise field according to the players’ needs. It is important to let the children’s love for the game grow and let them play.

2. Also as a coach, you should not pack in a lot of technical and strict training routines in the daily training program – it is best to allow players time for setting up, arguments and discussions and more.

3. Do not continue with a plan which does not seem to be working. Remember to mix it up – have alternative schedules –so that in case a schedule does not work you are able to modify the schedule for improved results on the field.

4. Also, avoid drills that have the children standing in a file for longer periods. Children need to be active and cannot be contained in the monotonous activity.

5. Youth teams have children of all ages and they can turn unruly. To be prepared for any kind of circumstance, it is best to have at least one assistant and it can also be an important health and safety consideration.

All the best for your coaching!