Coaching Tips

Coaches spend a lot of time evaluating individual players, teams, opponents, team shape and systems of play.  I wonder how many of you spend time evaluating your own performance as a coach?  This thought came to mind as I analyzed and evaluated my own recent training sessions.  As coaches we have a responsibility to continually improve upon what we do. How can we realistically expect our student / athletes to put in the time to become better if we ourselves are not willing to do the same?

Seven things that can help you be a better coach:

1)  Have a  defined  Coaching Philosophy

2) Thoroughly plan.  You should have a season-long comprehensive plan outlined for training. Within that plan must be a certain amount of flexibility to allow for varying numbers in attendance at training. Planned progression through techniques and tactics with perhaps 3-5 areas to strongly emphasize throughout the season. Strong elements of continuity and consistency must be present. For example, utilizing the same warmup/stretching routine on a daily basis. Variety must also be present to maintain high levels of concentration and interest.

3) Keep and maintain a Coaching Journal complete with practice plans, reviews of training and notes on individuals, small groups (Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders, Forwards), and the collective team as well as on yourself and the coaching staff. This "self-evaluation" technique can be very enlightening.

4) Learn from the players.  Question and answer sessions that allow players to provide input on identifying problems and on how to solve the problems they encounter on the field can provide valuable insight to use as a coach. It can also help to establish a sense of ownership among the players and when they feel they have a vested interest, players tend to be more committed to the team. 

5) Become a student of the game. Coaching courses, Coaching clinics, mentors, video, books, the Internet are all readily accessible. Invest time in continuing education. The moment you think you know all there is to know about coaching is the time you should walk away from coaching.

6) Ask a fellow coach to observe your training session and provide feedback.  We provide input to our players all the time. It's a good thing to have someone else provide you input on your peformance.

7) REMEMBER ALWAYS that soccer is a GAME to be played.  Games are supposed to be FUN! Do not be afraid to laugh at yourself, temporarily abandon your well-laid plans and just let the kids PLAY every now and again.


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