Coaching is not an easy task. Some people think that coaching is a bed of roses because it looks really easy. Well, it’s not. There is more to carrying a clipboard during a game and talking to your players about what play to use during a match. The real coaching happens not during the game but during practice.
Coaching requires a lot of skill not only mentally but socially too. Social skills are highly required in all coaching levels especially when it comes to coaching the youth.
Here are some coaching tips and essentials when it comes to coaching at the youth level:
Know the basics
While it is highly required for a coach to know how the game works, it also essential that you remind your team that the game is not about winning but having fun. Make your practice a venue for fun and safe camaraderie. Teach your team to be humble when winning and to be gracious in defeat.
Pick a safe place to practice
When coaching a youth soccer team, parents would most likely want to be involved. It is normal for them to be concerned on where your practice venue is. Pick a venue that is accessible to your players and to their parents. Make sure that all training equipment is working and safe. The last thing you would want is a parent complaining about his or her child being hurt from a huge rock or nail. Aside from that, always be ready with a first aid kit just incase an injury happens during practice. Assure the parents that you have a contingency plan just incase something goes wrong.
Instill the benefits of fitness
Young people often take fitness for granted. They think that since they are still young they can eat whatever they want and get away with it. They can but in the long run it wouldn’t be beneficial to them anymore. As coaches, you need to make them understand why there is a need to be fit. Once they understand the importance of fitness in soccer then they would do it naturally. When they make a mistake do not punish them by letting them run 10 laps or push-ups instead challenge them to do better in their performance.
Use positive positioning
Communicating to your players is essential in all levels when you are a coach. It is mostly critical when you are coaching younger players such as young adults or players in the youth level. You have to be very careful to use positive words when correcting a player’s mistake. Children at this age tend to be very sensitive and easily get upset or discouraged when they are being yelled at. When correcting them you have to make sure that you choose your words wisely, in that way they wouldn’t take it against you or the game. This in result builds character.
Help them mature
Being part of a team instills responsibility. Let each individual feel that they are part of a bigger whole and that they have a responsibility to the team. Give each player assignments such as team secretary to check attendance, someone who can be in charge of uniforms, practice schedules and the like. When they do this they become accountable for their actions and helps them mature. At the same time, teach your players to man up. The real world might not be the same as what they are currently experiencing. They should be ready for whatever comes their way.
These five simple tips can help you become a better soccer coach. Aside from that, you should also remember that you are part of the team and you should also do your part. Doing your part as a coach not only means that you do it while you are with them, but you would also have to do some research off duty. Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills that a coach needs by reading books, attending conferences or joining coach clubs. There are a lot of different books available for you to read and learn how to deal with kids with different personalities. Joining coach clubs can also help you learn the different strategies that other coaches use on their team. You also get to meet people that you can run to for advice when your team gives you a hard time.