You just got talked into coaching your first soccer team. CONGRATULATIONS!
Here are FIVE tried and true suggestions for you.
If you want players to come to practice, respect you, have their parent’s respect you, the other coaches respect you, and – yes – even the referees respect you . . . be positive. Look for little “victories” with each player and compliment them when they succeed. Success breeds success. Sarcasm and negativity will tear a player down rather than build them up.
Make Practice Fun
Kids love to play soccer. That is why they signed up. But for many of them they may have the idea that practice is not fun (which they probably got from practicing another sport :). NOT SOCCER! Make practice fun by planning your time together, make sure everyone has a ball, engaging them immediately when they arrive, play a lot of games and work in the skill work within the games, and build them up when they think or do good things.
Rotate Players Through All Positions
Your season is just a small slice of your players soccer life. Who knows where this adventure might lead them? The more experience you can give them playing a variety of positions will help them develop into well rounded soccer players. Remember though to put players into positions where they can be successful. For example, if a player is still struggling when put under pressure then put them in a position on the field where they will be under less pressure – for example as an out back, outside midfielder or outside forward. That is not a negative on the player, it is just good coaching.
Play Players Equal Time
Whether your team is recreational or competitive, all players and their families chose to participate so that they could play in the games. Let them all play and keep to as close to equal playing time as you can.
When To Coach And When to Watch
Good coaches use their training time to coach, helping their players discover the game. Success in practice leads to success in the games. The biggest joy you can have as a coach is when you see a player execute in the game something that you just practiced. And when you see THAT, you let the player (and the teammates) know it by building them up. Coach during the practices, watch and build up during the games when you see good thoughts and good execution of what you practiced.
Now the great adventure begins! Have fun and enjoy the season.
I joined MOTI Sports in January to help in a sales consulting capacity during our USC Annual Conference show in Chicago in 2018. I am the former Coach of Orono High School for 35 years and hold a USSF Class B License. My professional background is 40 years in the capacity of manager of a retail grocery store and extensive experience with accounting and book-keeping.