Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Praise gives your players confidence – just ask Guus Hiddink

dc1Rewards for soccer players are enormous if you’re playing at the top. Ronaldo, Kaka and David Villa all having millions spent on them and are reaping the benefits of their skills. Of course very few players make it to the top but usually the ones that do have a tale to tell of when they didn’t think they would make it – and usually the person that helps them is the coach.

In Manchester United player Ji-Sung Park’s autobiography he tells of how praise from Guus Hiddink helped him believe in himself. Here’s an extract from his autobiography:

‘Sitting alone in an empty locker room, I look at my injured left leg. I was crestfallen because I missed out my opportunity to prove my worth in these crucial moments.

Then, Coach Hiddink appeared out of nowhere with an interpretor and spoke to me. Wondering what he had just said, I looked at the interpretor.
“He said you have great mentality. With that kind of mental strength, you will become a great player.”

I was astonished. Before I could say anything, he was already out of the locker room. My heart was pounding, I felt a new strength rousing inside me. Coach always seemed like an distant person but coming up to me and saying that I have great mentality have boosted up my confidence… I have nothing else to boast but mentality. I may not have great skills or technique, but one thing I can do is never give up.

Coach took notice of that. Those words gave me great strength and courage, it felt ten time better than someone saying I am a football genius.

Within a minute, Coach Hiddink had changed my life forever. Without Coach Hiddink I would have not been able to become who I am right now. I owe him everything and I won’t be able to repay it in my lifetime.’

As a coach it is important you reward your players with personal interaction and praise, earned for many things during the course of a season.

To be like Guus Hiddink you need to do little other than give them verbal praise for the good things they do. So how should you do it?

Here are a few tips on praise:

I usually shake a player’s hand.
Make good eye contact with the player.
Go to the player, do not wait for him to come to you.
Lean slightly forward to your players when shaking hands and talking to them.

Use my 10 ways to say well done to a player blog to get some tips on what to say.

This clip is an animation of the meeting between Hiddink and Park, I think you’ll agree it is a really heartwarming story in these days of 80m Euros transfers.

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5 Comments so far
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its fantastic reading your coaching tips often,i make a request that you help us here in Nigeria recieve your course and be certified accordingly.i mean you can test or give exams on line and award certificate to deserving presons.I offer to coordinate for you with all honesty,i am willing to oblige any conditions that may be required.Honestly,you programme is even worth more than institutional trainings.Why not upgrade to that level,even so as you haveyourmaterials for order.may i also state that we in Nigeria have difficulty in ordering for the materials,could we arrange for any easy means of doing so?

Comment by kris adegbe

excellent coaching..
i almost never give my players hard time after similiar problems..never allow players to shout abuse at each other in matches nor in my training schedules as i believe that nobody who plays for a team makes a mistake willingly ,but i am hard on casual players of the game and the “back-breakers” who are players that need to be carried on by the team..not on my watch!

Comment by ahmet

It’s about getting to know your players and giving them the support and backing they need.
Installing commitment and desire into them by encouraging them in all aspects of the game.

Comment by Chris




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