Youth Soccer Coaching Mistakes

Youth Soccer Coaching Mistakes

Being a youth soccer coach is very rewarding! At the same time, it can also give you more grey hair!

If you are a youth soccer coach, you know how important it is to create a positive and productive environment for your players. However, even with the best intentions, it’s easy to fall into common coaching mistakes that can be detrimental to your team’s success.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common youth soccer coaching mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Common Soccer Coaching Mistakes

As a youth soccer coach, it’s important to understand that mistakes happen. However, there are some common coaching mistakes that can be avoided with proper preparation and understanding.

To be a decent coach is actually quite easy in my opinion. Just be a good person. Everything you do on top of being a good person will make you a great coach.

Overemphasis on Winning

This is a biggie when coaching 13-year-olds and younger. While winning is important, it should not be the sole focus of your coaching.

When you overemphasize winning, you create a poor learning environment for your players. They may feel unnecessary pressure to perform, which can lead to acute or major anxiety and stress.

Youth Soccer Coaching Mistakes

Instead of going for the dubs, focus on developing your players’ skills and building their confidence. This will help them improve their performance and lead to more wins in the long run.

A year from now, you, your players, and the parents will not remember or care about any loss that happened this season. I can guarantee you this.

Ignoring Individual Player Development

As a youth coach, it’s important to understand that every player develops at their own pace. Some players may need more attention and guidance than others.

It’s advantageous to take the time to understand each player’s strengths and weaknesses and tailor your coaching to their needs. This will help them improve their skills and become better players.

No two players are the same so loosely forming an individualized plan can do wonders to their development.

Poor Communication Skills

Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and confusion.

As a coach, you need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with your players. This includes giving clear instructions, providing feedback, and listening to your players’ concerns.

Make sure to use simple language and avoid using jargon or technical terms that your players may not understand. K.I.S.S. – keep it simple stupid!

Ordering, Not Teaching

As an adult in an influential position, it’s important to remember that you are not just there to give orders.

You are there to teach your players how to play the game. This means breaking down complex skills into simple steps, demonstrating techniques, and providing feedback.

Avoid simply telling your players what to do and instead focus on teaching them how to do it.

You don’t want to appear as a dictator. I’ve personally seen kids quit the sport because they were constantly ordered without any real relationship being formed.

Soccer should be a two-way street with the player’s feelings and development always taken into account, not how good the team makes you look.

Impact of Coaching Mistakes on Soccer Players

There’s no doubt that coaching mistakes can have a significant impact on the physical and psychological wellbeing of young soccer players.

As a coach, it is important to understand the potential consequences of your actions and strive to create a positive and supportive environment for your team.

Physical Strain

One common coaching mistake is overworking young players. While it is important to challenge your team and push them to improve, it is equally important to prioritize their safety and avoid putting undue strain on their bodies.

Overtraining can lead to a range of physical issues, including muscle strains, joint pain, and fatigue. These injuries can be painful and limit a player’s ability to perform on the field.

Additionally, overworking players can lead to burnout and cause them to lose interest in the sport altogether.

Psychological Effects

Coaching mistakes can also have a significant impact on the psychological wellbeing of young players.

Negative feedback, criticism, and harsh punishment can all contribute to feelings of anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem.

For example, three kids quit my son’s team last year because the coach continued to berate our team individually. It was non-stop. My son’s friend was so scared that he didn’t talk at all on the way to our practices. Fortunately, he was able to continue to play soccer for this middle school. As for my son, we had many talks and continued to play for the coach but it wasn’t a good environment.

When players feel unsupported or undervalued, they may become disengaged from the sport and lose their passion for the game. They may also develop negative attitudes towards their teammates and coaches, which can harm team morale and cohesion.

As a coach, it is important to prioritize the mental health of your players and create a positive and encouraging environment.

Praise and positive reinforcement can help build confidence and motivate players to improve.

Additionally, creating opportunities for players to bond and build relationships with their teammates can help improve team dynamics and foster a sense of community.


Coaching youth soccer can be a challenging but rewarding experience. As a coach, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can hinder player development and enjoyment of the game.

By following the tips and advice provided by experienced coaches and experts in the field, you can create a positive and effective coaching environment that helps players reach their full potential.

If you want to learn more about coaching and practice drills you can do with your team, check out our guide ‘Soccer Coaching Made Simple’. It’s a valuable resource to help you achieve success this season!

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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