Tips to Elevate Your Coaching

In the dynamic world of coaching, especially in football, the journey towards becoming an effective coach is filled with learning, adaptation, and growth. A seasoned professional, Coach Javi shares invaluable insights that can significantly enhance your coaching skills. Here are five essential tips from his advice that every aspiring coach should consider.

Coaching is both an art and a science. It requires a deep understanding of the game and the ability to connect with players, inspire them, and help them grow both on and off the field. Whether you’re a novice just starting out or a seasoned veteran looking to refine your skills, there’s always room for improvement. Coach Javi’s experience and insights offer a valuable perspective that can help you navigate the coaching challenge and achieve your goals.

We’ll delve into five key areas that can significantly impact your coaching effectiveness. From embracing your knowledge gaps to mastering the art of “cone ology,” these tips are designed to help you build a strong foundation for your coaching career. So, let’s get started!

1. Embrace Your Knowledge Gaps

One of Coach Javi’s most important lessons is the acceptance of not knowing everything. As a coach, it’s crucial to acknowledge when you don’t have an answer to a player’s question. Instead of providing inaccurate information, it’s better to admit your uncertainty and commit to finding the correct answer. This approach not only builds trust and respect among players but also demonstrates that you are human and continuously learning.

When you tell a player, “That’s a good question; let me find out and get back to you,” you’re showing that you value their curiosity and are dedicated to providing them with accurate information. This honesty fosters an environment of mutual growth and respect. It also encourages players to be more open about their own uncertainties, creating a culture of continuous learning.

Furthermore, admitting your gaps in knowledge prevents the spread of incorrect information. In the world of sports, where tactics and techniques constantly evolve, staying updated is essential. By committing to learning and improving, you set a positive example for your players, encouraging them to adopt a similar mindset.

2. Be Authentic

Authenticity is key in coaching. Coach Javi advises against adopting a stern demeanor if it’s not your true personality. Being genuine helps you relate better to your players. For younger coaches, particularly those close in age to their players, being yourself can bridge the gap and make interactions more relatable. Players are perceptive and can easily detect insincerity. Authenticity builds a solid foundation of trust, making it easier for players to buy into your coaching philosophy.

When you are authentic, you create a more comfortable and trusting environment. Players feel more at ease and are likely to open up about their challenges and concerns. This openness allows for better communication and understanding, which are crucial for effective coaching.

Being yourself also means leveraging your unique strengths and personality traits. If you have a good sense of humor, use it to lighten the mood and build rapport with your players. If you’re naturally empathetic, use that to connect with players on a deeper level. Authenticity isn’t about being perfect; it’s about being real and relatable.

3. Prioritize Respect Over Likeability

While wanting to be liked is natural, Coach Javi stresses the importance of earning respect. This means being firm and sticking to your values, even if it makes you less popular. Coaches are not there to be friends with players but to guide them. Establishing clear boundaries and maintaining professional authority ensures that players respect you as a coach.

Respect is crucial for maintaining discipline and focus within the team. When players respect you, they are more likely to follow your instructions and adhere to the rules. This respect is earned through consistent behavior, fairness, and integrity. It’s about being firm but fair and holding players accountable while also supporting them.

Being respected rather than liked also helps maintain professionalism. As a coach, you have to make tough decisions, such as selecting the starting lineup or addressing poor performance. These decisions can sometimes lead to disappointment or frustration among players. If your primary goal is to be liked, you may struggle to make these tough calls. However, if you prioritize respect, players will understand and accept your decisions, even if they don’t always agree with them.

4. Master the Art of “Cone ology”

Efficiency in training sessions is crucial. “Cone ology,” a term introduced by one of Coach Javi’s instructors, refers to the strategic placement of cones to minimize downtime between drills. By planning the layout of your training exercises in advance, you can ensure seamless transitions from one activity to another. This not only maximizes practice time but also keeps players engaged and reduces idle moments.

The concept of “cone ology” is all about smart planning. Instead of setting up each drill separately and wasting time in between, plan your sessions so that one setup flows naturally into the next. For example, if you start with a passing drill, set up the cones in a way that can be easily adapted for the subsequent possession drill. This minimizes the need to reset the field and keeps the momentum going.

Implementing “cone ology” requires some extra time in planning but pays off during practice. Spend 10-15 minutes before each session mapping out the layout of your drills. Consider the sequence of activities and how you can use the same setup for multiple purposes. This foresight not only saves time but also makes your sessions more dynamic and engaging.

5. Provide Specific Coaching Feedback

Clear, concise, and specific feedback is more effective than generic praise or criticism. Instead of saying “good job” or “talk more,” Coach Javi recommends providing detailed instructions. For example, tell a player, “Well done, Jimmy, for dropping in and covering the space.” This type of feedback is actionable and helps players understand precisely what they did right or need to improve.

Specific feedback is crucial for player development. It helps players understand their strengths and areas for improvement in a concrete way. When you provide detailed feedback, players know exactly what actions to repeat and what to adjust. This clarity leads to better performance and faster improvement.

Moreover, specific feedback enhances communication between you and your players. It shows that you are paying attention to their actions and care about their progress. This level of detail fosters a deeper connection and understanding, making it easier to guide and support them.


Coaching is an ever-evolving craft that requires dedication, authenticity, and continuous learning. You can significantly improve your effectiveness as a coach by embracing knowledge gaps, being true to yourself, prioritizing respect, optimizing training efficiency, and giving specific feedback. Coach Javi championed these principles, which offer a roadmap for both new and experienced coaches aiming to make a meaningful impact in their coaching careers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why is it important to admit when you don’t know something as a coach?

Admitting when you don’t know something fosters trust and honesty. It shows players that you are committed to providing accurate information and learning alongside them.

2. How can being authentic benefit my coaching style?

Being authentic helps build trust and rapport with your players. It makes interactions more genuine and relatable, improving communication and team cohesion.

3. What’s the difference between being liked and being respected as a coach?

Being liked often involves trying to befriend players, which can undermine authority and discipline. Being respected involves maintaining professional boundaries and sticking to your values, ensuring players follow your guidance and decisions.

4. What is “cone ology” and how can it improve my training sessions?

“Cone ology” is the strategic placement of cones to minimize downtime between drills. It ensures seamless transitions from one activity to another, maximizing practice time and keeping players engaged.

5. How can I provide more effective coaching feedback?

Provide specific, detailed feedback instead of generic comments. Clearly explain what the player did right or needs to improve, making the input actionable and easier to understand.

By incorporating these tips into your coaching approach, you can create a more effective and supportive environment for your players, leading to better performance and a more cohesive team.

Categories: Coach



As a soccer coach and graduate in Physical Education, I bring a wealth of expertise to the field. My coaching philosophy combines technical precision with a passion for player well-being. With a commitment to fostering both skill and sportsmanship, I aim to empower athletes, nurturing their growth not only as players but as individuals on the journey to success.


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *