I’ve been involved in coaching kids for many years and in quite a few different sports. One of my personal favorites is soccer and it comes with a lot of challenges. It might look like a simple sport, but teaching young kids in a way that they get the most out of it is not always easy.
Working with small kids or young teenagers can be a very big responsibility as well. Not only are you teaching skills and techniques, but you’re there to help these young players be the best that they can be. To help you reach your own goals as a youth coach, here are some tips for helping the kids excel and also some practical advice for a successful coaching experience.
Coaching Tips That Make A Big Difference
How Much Do You Love Playing?
A very important thing that you can do as a coach is to share your love for the game with your kids. Share the enthusiasm that has you on the field with them in the first place. Maybe some kids find it to be a challenge to play but your enthusiasm helps to keep them practicing until they themselves start having a passion for it, as well. It shouldn’t be hard. If you’re thinking about or getting started coaching, then you probably have a lot of spirit and enthusiasm to spare.
Practice Praise Over Criticism.
It’s okay to provide feedback to the kids as they start to play. What you want to be careful about is how you voice that feedback. If you have a player who wants to perfect their goal kicking but hasn’t been getting the technique down, offer them praise in an area that they are good at it. After you have lifted them up, you can suggest a way that they can better shoot the ball. Praise them more often than not and you will see how far they can advance.
Make Sure That You Are Well-Versed In The Rules Of The Game.
If you’re unsure of the rules or things that deserve red flags or when you’re off-sides, how are you going to teach the game? It’s important for you to brush up on the soccer rules before you start coaching. You want your kids to win games and play in competitions, but it won’t do them much good if they don’t know what they can and cannot do, and you don’t either.
Realize That They Are Young People Developing Their Unique Personalities And Traits.
It’s important to remember that they are each their own person. You can’t fit each player into a box and coach them in exactly the same way. Everybody learns in a different way, so make sure that you recognize this before starting to coach youth players. They are in a very important stage of their lives and training them in a way that will appeal to their needs will go far, not only in soccer but in a lot of different areas.
Consider Practicing Specific Type Of Games Or Routines.
Get your kids into the right headspace before they start playing. You want to build confidence before they start playing and get them feeling good and fun games our routines can help you do just that in a positive way.
What Do You Need For Your Training Sessions?
As a coach, you’re going to need to make sure of several things before the games and practices. First of all, do you have everything that you may possibly need? The following checklist will help you to remember the important stuff before your games and practices:
- A first aid kit: Accidents happen and most of the time they aren’t too bad. A few scrapes here and there is normal and par for the course. Every once in a while, a sprained ankle may happen. Make sure that you have everything from band-aids to bandages and braces.
- Soccer balls: It may be obvious but you will want to bring extra soccer balls to the game. From balls getting popped to warm ups and training that requires multiple balls, a prepared coach will have more than a few. Sure, they take up room, but you’ll be able to get so much more done with more.
- Hand pump: If you don’t bring a back up ball or two, you’ll want to at least bring a hand pump, so you can always make sure that you have a full ball. A coaching session without a ball isn’t going to be a very good one if you’re practicing soccer.
- Cones: Cones are really helpful for teaching your kids how to work on foot play and maneuver faster and play better. Some people like to use disc cones as they don’t get in the way as much as larger ones do.
- Vests: Sometimes you’ll want your team to practice as if they’re playing against another team and using vests can help you to differentiate the teams, making it easier for the kids and even for you.
Don’t forget to leave some responsibility to the parents. After all, you’re the kids’ coach and you’re committed to their playing, but you don’t have to do everything. What you do want to do is make sure that parents understand how important it is that they have all the gear they need.
Some parents would like to spend less money on items, but as the coach, you want your team to be as protected as they can be. Make sure to ask the parents to buy everything from shin guards to the right shoes and socks for a happy and successful soccer experience. Encourage the purchase of quality equipment, as the better quality it is, more protection will be provided.
Are you ready to start the wonderful experience of coaching? If so, you’re going to find it to be quite amazing. Seeing how your kids excel at the game you’ve been teaching them is like nothing else. Make sure that you are fully prepared, with rules and gear, as well as the right attitude.
As long as you’re enthusiastic and care about helping them succeed, then you’ll be an amazing coach, no doubt.