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Coaching soccer is easy if one is a good coach.  This article on soccer coaching 101 is a must read in
understanding how to develop a strong, confident team through proper soccer coaching.
soccer coaching
Probably the most difficult task in coaching soccer is in managing the minds of the players – their egos, if
you will.  Many soccer teams that struggle, do so due to lack of team leadership, discipline and confidence.  
This may sound like common sense, but lack of confidence, team unity and discipline truly can be difficult to
build when coaching a group of soccer players.

Many soccer coaches are former players
who want to get into soccer coaching, but just because one
understands the game of soccer and is a good player, does not necessarily mean they will be a great
soccer coach.  Managing the psyche of others can be difficult, as all of us look to identify the leader in each
environment we are in.  If people do not recognize a leader, then they will naturally gravitate to becoming
the leader.  Have a soccer team do this, and you have a team of individuals – egos out of control!  Many
soccer coaches believe they have to become “one of the guys (or girls)” to befriend the players, but to do
so ruins credibility, as it makes it very difficult to later implement discipline and gain control of a team.   A
good soccer coach is a leader who is respected, builds confidence, builds the team mentality, and creates
players who understand what is expected out of them.  If the players do not respect the coach, then they will
not understand that undesirable behavior will create disciplinary action.  In that type of scenario, when
disciplinary action comes, rebellion will ensue.  In other words, the players will seek to control the soccer
team, if the coach is not a leader who backs up his or her word with disciplinary action.

So how does one become a good soccer coach?  
How does one implement good soccer coaching?  We first
suggest instilling the following ideals when instructing and coaching a soccer team:

1) It’s always about TEAM, and never about individuals.  The team must always come first in decisions
and soccer play should always be
team play.  If a team does well, it is because the team did well, and not
because an individual had a great game.  If your soccer team has “individuals” on it, then you will have to
work hard to correct this incorrect thinking.  One way to eliminate individualism is to play one or two touches
in practices and in games.  In other words, each soccer player touches the ball up to two times and then
passes the ball to another player, until a good shot can be taken by a player who is open.  To promote one
soccer player above others as the “go-to” guy or gal is a mistake
and not good soccer coaching.  

2) Discipline…discipline…discipline.  A soccer coach’s word is only good as the coach’s ability to back it
up.  If a soccer player challenges a coach by talking back, not listening to instruction, yelling at other
players, etc, then good soccer coach
ing requires disciplinary action.  The easiest way to accomplish this is
to make players who are unwilling to listen to the coach, run, and/or sit out of games.  This may require
benching the best individual player on the team for a few games, until he or she gets the message.  Make
no mistake, sending a message to one, sends the message to the whole team that the coach means
business and that the soccer team is a team.  If losing games means building good character in the soccer
players, it is best to do so.  If a soccer player does not like discipline and threatens to quit, then help that
player pack their soccer equipment and send them off the field.  If they come back and apologize to the
team and the coach, then the player can possibly be allowed back onto the team.  
Good soccer coaching is
about building character and teaching life-lessons.

3) Build confidence and win soccer games you shouldn’t.  The best way to build a team is to build
confidence in
all the players.  Building confidence in players may sound simple, but it is not easy if a coach
has players yelling at players, effectively tearing down what the coach is trying to accomplish. A good leader
does not need to yell, but will speak positively to every player and instruct all players to speak positive to
each other.  Saying “Good job, John,” will go further than criticizing a J
ohn’s play.  Instill positive speaking
w
ithin your team, and watch how far they will accel as players.  It is so important for a soccer coach to
understand that
90% of a young soccer team will not be playing to their potential, and it will not be due to
lack of effort, drive or skill,
but due to lack of confidence.  If the coach is yelling at players, then players will
be yelling at players.  Negative comments and yelling b
y soccer players is a cancer that must be removed
quickly through discipline if it is occurring within the players, and m
ust be fortified from the top down, by
proper soccer coaching that is non-threatening and encouraging.  Both the coach and players must work
together to build confidence in every player – even those who appear to be most confident.  As a side note,
c
oaches should treat referees the same way, by not yelling at them.  It’s alright to question a call here or
there,
but do not become irate.  All officials blow calls on the field, so the worst thing a soccer coach can do
is to berate a referee.  What sense does it make to attack the one controlling the game?  It more than likely
will not help one’s team win, and m
ore than likely could impact the team negatively.

4)  Manage the soccer players’ parents.  One of the worst things parents can become is their child’s
coach.  
Good soccer coaching will instruct parents to allow their children to enjoy the game and progress
through the instruction of the soccer program.  Parents, however, have the natural tendency to apply
pressure to their kid
by telling them how to play better, yelling, etc, thinking it will make their child become a
better soccer player.  If a young soccer player enjoys soccer, he or she will naturally practice on their own
and develop
incredible soccer skills.  Yelling by parents at players on the soccer field is unacceptable and
must be addressed by the soccer coach.  
Un-addressed, this type of behavior will not only tear down the
players’ confidence, but also grow into attacking soccer referees (and possibly the coach!).
 


Other interesting links: History of Soccer   Soccer Tricks   World Cup Soccer History   Soccer Rules
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