In the entire youth soccer coaching process, team building is a very important and a logical stage. Formerly soccer teams were run by the kids with the leading players always taking the initiative. Games were primarily played and organized keeping in view the participants and the coach came later. He was considered as someone who remained out of the field as well as the team structure in order to bring order and design a plan. But nowadays it takes a greater harmonized effort to achieve the best results in youth soccer as more and more people have a voice in decisions. This has brought a change in the nature of challenges that the modern coach and players are facing today.
It is important that all coaches include team building techniques into their practice sessions and take the advantages that a better understanding of this process offers. The practice of any team-building exercise is a tool that a coach can use to develop player’s soccer theory and their technique of play in the best possible way as a coach can with the goal to accomplish their goals. Following are a few key elements of a constructive team building process.
1. A clear and complete understanding of the team’s performance of field in order to accomplish the desired outcome. This further includes an understanding of the duties and responsibilities.
2. The team administration should be fully supportive of the coach and his vision for the team. When it comes to youth soccer, support from the kid’s parents is also a part of this process.
3. The coach’s vision should be in agreement with the overall club culture and only complement it.
4. The techniques used and the methods applied should be age appropriate for the kids, practical and functional.
5. Design practice plans that connect individual and small group techniques to team tactics. Practice should not be seen as something to fill time and keep the kids occupied. There must be a positive relationship between an individual player’s action and realization of a team objective.
6. It is of utmost importance to develop a decent level of interaction between the team members themselves and between the coach and the players too.
7. It is for the coach to first observe team building as a course rather than a trend and then to pass on this understanding to the players. It cannot be taken as another team-building activity just like a chicken burger treat. Instead it influences every aspect of the team’s atmosphere, either positively or negatively, right from the first practice session to the final soccer game.
8. The advantages that a team building practice offers are long-standing. These advantages or disadvantages cannot be specific for one particular season or a team. These are passed along all through a player’s career.
9. The objective of practicing team building exercises for a soccer coach is winning games. Personal and professional development of players without the objective of winning is similar to reading a book without the knowledge of its contents. It explains the players and sometimes the coach as to why they are doing what they are doing. During the developing years, winning should only mean kid’s performance on the field. It is imperative that kids work upon developing their playing abilities and it is this endeavor is what makes a winner.
Team spirit is often seen as a means to success in team sports including soccer, and youth soccer team-building exercises are key elements for the young players to spend time and bond. Being the coach, one should include soccer team-building exercises during the pre-season to allow your kids to get to know each other. With the passage of time, a coach should also lay emphasis on team building and the development of players as a group.
The process of building team spirit and having kids to bond and become a unified unit is imperative to making sure that the team delivers its finest performance and as a youth soccer coach, your role in building team spirit among the players is the greatest. When players bond well with each other, they would never want to let their teammates down. In fact, they’ll make every effort to help and support their team mates as much as they can. They always try and do the best thing for their team.
Group Union: When kids are young, they generally come for practice sessions on time and leave soon after the session gets over. Well organized soccer practices call for focus and so kids normally find little time to hang out with friends. Team bonding activities such as team trips and pizza parties help increase social bonding among players, off the field.
As a soccer coach, you should encourage kids to frequently host team meals where each kid brings some home-made food for players to sit and enjoy each other’s company. The more time your players will spend in each other’s company away from the field, the more friendly will they become and start communicating freely on the field during practice matches as well as live tournaments. Also, the players will have confidence and take more pleasure in being a part of a team that is full of their companions.
This article lists a few simple ideas in the following paragraphs to help coaches accomplish a great team spirit.
Be punctual and reliable, always: Your players will always respect you and react to you in a positive way when they know you’re practicing what you’re preaching. The fact that you behave in a responsible and professional manner will invoke a feeling of appreciation for you and would want to give their best performance to make you happy.
Set team’s objectives so that it helps in binding the team to a common goal. When you involve kids in game related decision making, they are sure to take ownership of the team’s goal realization and in doing so, your players will tend to learn working towards a common goal. Although, it is a very simple thing to do and takes very little time, try including team building exercises by setting team’s objectives. It will allow your team to bond and eventually perform much better.
When you make the kids practice under extreme conditions, it’ll help bond the kids well.
Have the players follow a special dress code and always confirm to it while coming to practice. Also, request their parents to take them along while buying the teams gear such as tracksuits, shoes and equipment bags etc. This will make them feel like a part of a team especially when they’ll sport a similar gear.
One method that you can use is to make sure that each player’s birthday is acknowledged, and no matter where or in what position your team may be, wish the player and sing happy birthday along with the cake cutting ritual. This not only breaks the routine sessions of strenuous workouts and practice but also make the players feel special. They naturally bond with others better when they share their special moments with them.
The importance of developing teamwork is essential soccer because this is a sport that does not depend on any predetermined ways to tackle the opposing team, and the decisions and field movements are spontaneous. This type of lateral thinking required in soccer calls for thoughtfulness and commitment amongst the team-mates.
Work upon developing a good and a friendly relationship with your players. Always remember that in youth soccer, players have an equal responsibility of showing a great game, not just for the coach and the team but for the teammates as well. When you show a sincere interest in their individual growth and development, it acts as a great motivation for them to understand their own self as well as their teammates.
After the kids have realized the importance of teamwork with reference to their individual development and have reached a level where the priority becomes teamwork and personal growth becomes secondary, allowing them to play in soccer positions that offer the maximum opportunity of scoring will increase their confidence in their game in addition to in their co-players’ game.
The most important thing for a coach to always remember is treat every player equally. Partiality is an absolute no-no that upsets harmony and creates tension on and off the field. So give equal time and show genuine interest in each player’s game as it is critical to developing teamwork in soccer.
Whether the objective of your team is to be the best soccer team, win a trophy, or improve upon previous year’s position, anything that brings a set of players together as a group will play an important role in maintaining bonding all through the path of a soccer season.