12 Top Youth Football Coaching Tips
There is this sense of fulfillment, joy and satisfaction with nurturing a crop of young boys or girls and watching them developing into professionals. For you to meet the collective and individual objectives of your team, here are some useful youth football coaching tips to help in achieving that.
These youth football coaching tips are probably what you know as a youth coach, but it is very helpful in shaping the course of your season.
#1 Ensure that everyone enjoys themselves
Let’s face it, you are dealing with kids and to a reasonable extent, you need to be “soft” on them. Your goal as a coach is to train them to become winners. However, it should not come at the expense of fun. It is not as if they are paid professionals who can decide to literally “buy fun”. To them, football is the source of their fun, and they must enjoy what they are doing while carrying out your instructions.
#2 Ensure that their paperwork is ready
Any game of sport is all about preparation. In the off-season, it is important for a coach to sort out any paperwork of the players so that he can have time to concentrate on football. This paperwork could take some forms. It could involve talking to your players’ parents or guidance so as to get their consent to sign any document that has to do with the players participation in training or treatments during an emergency.
A coach could as well work out immigration papers of players before the season starts. The main point is that a youth team coach must identify what could hinder his players from participating in an event or activity and work well in advance of time to settle that problem.
#3 Improve your skills
It is not always about getting players to learn a skill or master their positioning in a formation drill. A coach who is teaching young people must also stay ahead of the game. The reason is that he needs to be better than other coaches, and you do not want to be teaching your players the same thing all too often. You want to add a new dimension to things, and the players will respect you for it. A youth team coach can take advantage of his/her club’s coaching course or take advantage of your Football Association coaching program.
#4 Set a goal for the season
A good coach must set goals in other to succeed because at the end of a season; the goals you have set will be a benchmark to gauge your team’s performance for that season. A coach must set goals for his team collectively and must decide whether winning a cup or reaching a semifinal is good enough for the team. A coach must equally set a goal for individual players. All players must have a set milestone so as to help the team.
#5 Proper planning of training sessions
Some essential elements of a good training session are: it must be fun; it must be fast paced; it must be progressive; players must always be ready, and they must be able to learn a number of drills without confusing one for the other. A training session at that level is perhaps, more important than an actual match. Coaches must make proper planning and players must
be practice what they have learnt on a small scale, after each session.
With over 100 football drills I use the easy to use Coacher – Football Coaching Software training session planner to support the planning of my training sessions.
#6 Ensure use of demonstrations and give KISS feedback
It is easier to remember what we saw than what we heard. It just human nature. A coach must consistently use illustrations to explain things to his players. He could get an assistant to help him out, and it does not matter if the demonstration is not done properly at the first attempt. With time, the players will get to understand what he is trying to pass across. Also, the rule, “Keep it Short, and Simple” must be applied when he is giving feedback to the players. This will enable them to quickly assimilate and understand what he demands from them.
#7 Make sure that each player has a taste of the action.
The reason any parent will allow their child to join your team is because they want to see them play. Accepted, some players are clearly better than the others, and it is even advisable not to grant equal playing time to all of your players because you want to create a healthy competition among them. You do not wish to anger a parent by not playing their kids, and this is why it is important to spell out things like this to them in the off-season. Meet with each parent and explain to them that their child may have a limited role in the team.
#8 Always keep a match log
A match record helps to identify players that are making progress and those that are not. It helps to know players whose spate of bad decisions is hampering the growth of the team. It equally helps to identify players that are progressing at the expense of their teammates.
Likewise, when a parent comes to complain about the playing time of their child, a match log is a useful fact sheet to explain why such player is not getting enough minutes. A typical match log should keep the record of substitutes, starters, cards received, goals conceded
among other useful information. A very useful tool for keeping a match log is Coacher – Football Coaching Software which helps to keep details about a match or training session.
#9 Keep open lines of communication with players and parents throughout the season.
Coaching a youth team is not all about football alone. You should develop a special interest in your players. You can call them aside and discuss some family issues with them or talk about their positioning or tactics. Players will want to work harder and impress you this way.
Equally, parents also need your time. If they come to you concerning any issue, allow them to “get it off their chest”, and calmly supply reasonable answers to their complaints.
#10 Lead by example
Have you ever noticed a badge on the arm of match officials with the word “respect”? A coach must show respect for his players, their parents, to officials, to the fans, to the media and his opponents. Hooliganism is not tolerated in football, and a coach should not be the one engaging in a fight or quarrel.
#11 Offer plenty of praise!
Always praise you players, even if you do not like their behavior, try and isolate them before talking to them. You want to always lift the spirit of your players as this will have an effect on their performance. It is advisable to use the rule of praise-criticize-praise.
#12 Do not over-coach
You mustn’t teach your kids too many things in a training session. Do not bark at them from the sidelines or you risk having a confused team. Do not bug them too much at half-time and the end of the game is not the right time to start a play-by-play analysis.
Which youth football coaching tips do you think is more important?
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