Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Players Coaching Each Other

My Under 8s side have been doing extremely well lately, but regular readers of Better Soccer Coaching will know that wedwyerscullion.jpg started our season back in September with humble ambitions.

We didn’t have any outstanding players. You know, the kind that you can rely on to score regularly. As a coach I simply wanted to do what I could to help them progress as players and to have as much fun as is humanly possible on a freezing cold English Saturday morning. My stated ambition was for the team to score a goal before Christmas, and maybe push on to win a match by the end of the season.

Well, as things panned out, we actually got our first few goals in October but we were still a long way off winning a game. However, our fortunes took a dramatic turn when we managed to acquire the registration of a local boy who started training with us in the new year.

Now, this boy is really something special. He’s fast, skillful, smart, he looks up, and he has a left foot that Liverpool FC could certainly be doing with at the moment. Best of all, he is an absolutely delightful young boy. He supports his team mates at every opportunity. He’s always smiling. He’s never rude and he’s keen to learn as much as he can about the game.

Now we can’t stop winning. We’ve beaten the two strongest teams in our local area 4-0 and 6-0. We’re in danger of actually winning the Cup! Talk about Bad News Bears done good!

But here’s the thing. This weekend just gone by we had to make do without our star player, and quite a few others, and our squad was down to bare bones. We lost 2-0 but the message to the boys who played was that it was far and away our best ever performance. I saw cute little drag-backs, step-overs, passing into space, one-twos. I heard players pointing to each other to cover different areas of the pitch. I saw real determination to play “proper” passing, attractive football – not the kick-and-rush style that so many of us were brought up on.

So where did this all come from? I think our new star player has had an immeasurable influence on his peers, and not just in the way he plays. Sure, they all want to be able to dribble and shoot like young Ben and that aspiration has clearly raised their individual skill levels.

But I think it’s as much to do with the way he supports his team mates. I think they see him being attentive and respectful to the coaches. They respond to his encouragement and the fact that he never berates his team mates. They hear they way he communicates with the other players and, because, he’s such a great player, they can’t help but want to copy him.

In that regard he’s possibly a more effective coach than I could ever be.

Dwyer Scullion, Better Soccer Coaching publisher

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