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Cheat Sheet

Coaching Soccer For Dummies

From Coaching Soccer For Dummies by National Alliance for Youth Sports [with Greg Bach]

Coaching soccer should be safe and fun for you and your players, so start by getting familiar with the layout of the soccer field. As a soccer coach your players will look to you for guidance so use some helpful tips to teach and motivate them. Create a pregame routine to check the field and prepare your soccer players for the game and deliver a strong pregame speech to inspire your team.

The Soccer Field of Play

Although the size of a soccer field can vary, sometimes even from community to community, the markings remain pretty much the same. Get to know these playing field features:

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How a Soccer Coach Supports the Players

As a soccer coach, your players count on you during the season for guidance and support. The following are some ways to help your kids through the soccer season:

  • Be specific with your praise

  • Stop practices to point out when a player does something well rather than when they make a mistake

  • While providing feedback, use the “sandwich” method by placing a critical remark between two encouraging comments

  • Pile on the praise for kids giving their best and displaying good sportsmanship

  • Provide constant positive reinforcement — it’s the key to improvement

  • Focus on fun and safety instead of wins and losses

  • Be passionate and enthusiastic and it carries over to your players

  • Have reasonable expectations and set attainable goals for the kids

  • Remember that kids making mistakes is all part of the learning process

The Soccer Pregame Talk

What you say and how you say it when delivering the pre-game speech is a big motivator for your soccer players. Try these coaching tips when talking to the kids before the soccer game to prepare them for competition:

  • Speak in a calm and relaxed manner.

  • Be brief.

  • Conduct the talk away from any distractions.

  • Stress the importance of having fun and displaying good sportsmanship at all times during the game.

  • Stay away from overused clichés; speak from the heart to get your point across.

  • Avoid pressure phrases like “Let’s score five goals today.” Kids can give you their best effort, but they can’t control the outcome of games.

  • Be enthusiastic with your tone of voice and body language. The kids will be more responsive.

The Pregame Routine for Soccer Coaches

Get your day of coaching soccer off to a good start by establishing a pregame routine. Go through the following tips so your players have a safe and fun-filled time on and off the soccer field.

  • Inspect the field for loose rocks, broken glass, raised sprinkler heads, or anything else that could injure a child.

  • Verify that all the kids brought the proper equipment.

  • Have the kids warm up. Keep the drills light, cover all the muscle groups that will be used in the game, and involve a large number of soccer skills to properly prepare kids for the game.

  • Give the kids a water break before the game begins.

  • Provide encouraging words and a pat on the back to boost kids’ confidence and enhance self-esteem.

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