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General Tips for Coaches

Thoughts on Soccer

There are 2 types of goals – 1) outcome goals; and 2) process goals. Set 1-2 outcome
goals for your team and give them 5-6 proc
ess goals to help them get there. Focus on
the PROCESS and the outcome automatically follows:
Outcome – place 1 or 2 in a summer tournament
Process goals – 1) everyone learns to us
e both feet; 2) team can routinely string
together up to 4 passes; 3) when we lo
se the ball everyone is on defense; 4)
when we gain it back everyone attacks; 5) each player will perform at least 1
individual Coerver move per game.

Touches, passes, shots, headers and traps are
as important to soccer as hitting, running,
catching and throwing are to baseball. Players never really start playing the game until
they master these basics. They should be
heavily emphasized
to the micro-mod and all
full field players through U14.

Wins, competitive league placements and championships may all be desired outcomes
(outcome goals) but they assuredly will only be achieved by having
players and staff who
concentrate on and excel at the “little things” (process goals) like good touches,
controlling the ball, accurate passes with t
he correct pace, winning 50/50 balls, being in
game shape, practicing at game speed,
taking some risks and having fun.

A team that chases scores or standings
may have some successes. But a team that
diligently concentrates on executing the sm
all details of the game will always be

Soccer is a Youth Sports Activity. While our
teams are trying hard to better their player
and team skills and be competitive, we shoul
d never forget that the reason we are
participating is for the love of the game, to
better our individual and team skills, have
some fun and feel the strength a successful team can bring us all.

Players can only give 100%. That’s all they have. One player’s 100% may look like
another player’s 70%. The key for coaches is to know each player and motivate them to
give as close to THEIR 100% as they can.

When the going gets tough and the game is on
the line the victor is many times decided
by a player or small group that takes so
me chances. Promote an environment where
taking some chances, showing some creativ
ity and playing with passion are rewarded,
even if attempts sometimes does not work out.

Teams will be more successful if they al
ways concentrate on winning the ball not winning
the game (process vs. outcome oriented).

Use time off wisely. A well rested and mentally alert team practicing after a 1-2 week
break will accomplish more then the team who is still going at it week after week.
Recognize when you or your team
is tired and TAKE TIME OFF.

Do not give up your practice time for ded
icated conditioning. Incorporate conditioning
into your practices and if that’s not en
ough condition the team on another day. Keep
these dedicated conditioning times short and tr
y to make them fun by varying events,
grouping players of similar condition and
encouraging friendly competition within the

Our teams are only as good as the last 3-4 players on our benches. Drills and skills
should be targeted at the upper 60-70% of our
players but remember to assign assistant
coaches to spend extra time ensuring the
less skilled players are progressing well
towards making positive contributions to the team.

Demand that players always ex
ecute properly. Coaches can tell if a player is not skilled
and needs more practice or is just not concentrating.

If a team is not executing do not “practice”
bad. Try another drill. Change the practice
plan or just end practice.

Tell individual players constructively, yet frank
ly, what they are doing well and what they
need to work on. Be specific, candid and respec
tful. Remember the goal is for the player
to advance his/her skill in order to c
ontribute more towards team success.

Part of every coach/staff’s job is to be a sa
lesperson, to convince every player they are
getting the individual attention they need to get better, while at the same time instructing
the entire team towards a common objective or teaching point.

Coaches and staffs should be used to give both group and individual instruction for
optimal teaching effectiveness. While one
coach or staff member runs the drill and
instructs the group another helps individuals wi
th specific points of that drill or helps
identify and correct individual skills. Older team
s can use a player to run the drill while the
coach cycles around. It is difficult, for even experienced coaches to both run the drill and
give meaningful group and individual feedback.

Playing soccer with only t
he dominate foot mean
s players will only be playing half of the

Shadowing and mentoring can be
used successfully when traini
ng players for field roles.
Use more skilled players in a field role to hel
p teach another player to take over his/her

Building a team from a solid defensive foundation cannot be over emphasized. A team
with solid defensive skills not only stops t
he opponents’ attacks but starts yours.

Positioning your best talent to attack from the back, as a sustained team tactic, will only
ensure the ball is in your half of
the field for most of the game.

The older the team the more time the coache
s/staff should give to individual instruction
while demanding higher concentration and better execution.

Never discourage any player from trying to score.
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