Player & Coach Development

Players and coaches that are new to your organization need to learn your training system, and your training system needs to be able to adapt to their different learning needs and developmental rates.

There is a continuum of knowledge and skill that accumulates as both players and coaches gain experience, like that of an infant learning to crawl, walk & run stages of motor skill development.

Everyone experiences learning in all its forms at different rates: visually, auditory, physically (kinetically), reading & writing.

Your training system needs to allow the individual to experience the learning as often as needed so the individual understands what is being taught.

If your training system has too much information to learn before the learner is ready, this overloads their development process, and it can lead to deficiencies in the development of either the player or the coach.

Player Development: Player development occurs across 4 major areas:

  • Developing Technical skills to play the game (ball mastery, shooting, passing/receiving, individual abilities)
  • Developing Tactical game understanding (decision making, team/group play, positioning)
  • Physical development (overall athleticism, speed/agility/quickness, strength/endurance/balance/flexibility/coordination)
  • Social/ Psychological (coachability/willingness to learn, communication, leadership, work-ethic, interactions with others, teamwork, punctuality/attendance)

Coach Development:  Coach development occurs over a minimum of 5 major areas:

  • Developing knowledge of the game
  • Developing coaching communication skills
  • Set-up of the ideal training environment
    • Understanding the structure of the session plan
      • Engage the players immediately with a fun warm up or game which will introduce the topic for the session.
      • Present activities or games with little or no pressure to help the players experience success with the topic, improve their technical ability, and increase their confidence.
      • Add pressure, gradually increasing to an equal strength small sided game to see if your topic has translated to the game.
    • Tactical area set-up of the practice area (skills, tactical)
  • Coaching a Practice Session
  • Coaching the Game

Training systems need to facilitate putting together session training plans for technical skill as well as tactical game development. Additional elements should be enabled to be incorporated into training.

What works when Training:

In researching writing this article I ran across the following pyramid defining player engagement and learning retention from the National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine.

What you should know: 90% of what is retained is done so because we had to teach it to another individual, 75% is learned because we did the activity or skill, only 50% is retained when we discuss something, 30% retained when we watch something being done, 20% watching a video is retained, 10% when we read something, and only 5% when we listen to a lecture.


Training systems need to encourage, monitor, measure and report usage to be of real benefit.

Read part one of this series: Select a Soccer Training App and System that is right for your organization!

By Gordy

I have served in the capacity of the board-appointed leadership role (since 2014), and on the board since 2010.  I farm in west-central Minnesota. My prior business background includes co-founder and owner of Davis, Thomas & Associates, Inc. (DTA) with offices in Minneapolis MN, Chicago IL, and Bangalore India.  I was a former systems programmer in the banking, hospital, and transportation industries.