Tips for Coaching Youth Soccer
Coaching youth soccer players is not easy because it requires thorough planning, preparation, communication and strategies to foster enjoyable experiences and optimal performances. In today’s article, we will highlight the best tips for successful youth soccer coaching.
Create S.M.A.R.T Goals for Players
Creating S.M.A.R.T goals provide young players with a purpose for playing the game with commitment, dedication and hard work. It’s important to develop short-term and long-term goals and focus on individual objectives for each team player to ensure they perform at their best. Collectively, this will make your team more cohesive and more aligned with your vision.
S.M.A.R.T means specific, measurable, achievable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals. For example, for a midfielder, it may mean getting five assists by the end of the season. For a goalie, it may mean two clean sheets by the end of the season. For a striker, it could be four goals by the end of the season. Whatever the goal is, we recommend planning this out with all your players so they work towards something throughout the course of the season.
Motivate & Inspire Your Players
At a young age, as kids are developing, motivation and inspiration will get them through the tough times. By establishing reasons why you are doing what you are doing, the players can buy into it and stay motivated.
There’s many ways to motivate players. It may depend on your coaching style but giving positive encouragement should be at the top of the list. For some players, they put enough pressure on themselves that hearing positive feedback can be refreshing.
Also, if you are in a position to play with the team, do so! It is highly motivating to young players to see their coach taking part in the drills. There is a greater sense of cohesiveness.
Focus on Teamwork
Teamwork is the key to success in any sport but soccer especially. In order to be successful, everyone on the team needs to play as one. Encourage players to support each other and learn to communicate on and off the soccer field.
Although individual goals are important, when the team buys into the vision, everybody improves.
Communication is Key
It’s difficult to progress if your team lacks communication. And, the communication must start with the coach. Whether it’s practices or games, providing constant feedback can help players do more of what is working and fix what’s not.
Keep in mind that good communication is not only the words you say but also how you say it. The tone of your voice and body language can make a positive or negative impact on your child.
We encourage coaches to be loud with positivity but personal with ‘negative’ feedback.
Communication is almost impossible unless you listen to the players. Create a comfortable environment for the players to discuss their opinions and thoughts. If a player finds it challenging to open up, take them aside and talk one-on-one. Really listen to the player. They are looking for their coach to provide sound and unbiased advice.