Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

FA Level 1 course in Surrey – special offer

DCThe excellent Chris McGuinn has a Level One course in Sutton, Surrey starting on October 9. It’s a great opportunity for any coaches to get their foot on the first rung of the ladder and a great help to you as coaches for the season ahead.

As a friend of Dave Clarke, Chris will give you a £10 discount if you use the code  “offer” when you book.

The course starts in a week’s time and places are limited so book now and get yourself an FA badge.

FA Level 1 Venue – Sutton – October 2011

Sutton United FC. The Borough Sports Ground, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, Surrey. SM1 2EY 
October 9th, 16th, 23rd.  – 9.00am to 4.30pm – Practical & Theory
October 17th, – 7.00pm to 10.00pm Emergency Aid

October 25th, – 7.00pm to 10.00pm Safeguarding Children

Price £135.00

Book your place now and receive the £10.00 discount use the code offer


Father and son – take my advice

The majority of youth sides are coached by one of the player’s parents – it’s how a lot of coaches get involved in the game, after all, when taking over the reins from another Dad.

This can kick-start a massive learning curve as many parents’ boots were probably hung up several years before. More importantly though, while rookie coaches might have some technical knowledge, their understanding of youngsters’ learning processes is probably limited.

And part of that learning is making sure that players (and their own parents) aren’t reacting negatively to the potentially awkward aspect of father and son operating side-by-side. If you find yourself in such a situation, here’s a quick checklist of dos and don’ts that should help you out, because coaching your own child should be a pleasure, not a headache!

Five Dos

  • Do keep football separate from any disagreements at home.
  • Do treat everyone in the squad the same way.
  • Do ask other coaches to spend time with your child rather than you always coaching them.
  • Do listen to your child’s feelings about you coaching them. Respect what they say, whether you like it or not.
  • Do get feedback from other coaches, players and parents on how your child is doing. Sometimes it’s hard to stand back and make a fair and honest judgement on your own child.

Five Don’ts

  • Don’t accept gossip and criticism from your child about other players.
  • Don’t favour your child when selecting or coaching.
  • Don’t be harder on your child because he/ she is your child.
  • Don’t always pick them to demonstrate a technique or skill.
  • Don’t embarrass your child in front of the other players and coaches.

As your child gets older, you will find they want more space and independence, especially in their teenage years. It is important you don’t outstay your time. The ideal thing to do at this point is help another team. Too many coaches stop just when they are getting good.

Practice whereever and whenever you can

Just like Hope Solo and Alex Morgan…. and the Miami Dolphins mascot

The five telltale signs that your kids are enjoying what you offer them

DC1. They keep coming back!
Absence is the biggest indicator that players are not enjoying training and that it might be time for a change. If players don’t turn up, ask why when you next see them, and reinforce the fact that their team-mates need them back. Don’t be too pushy though, this puts a lot of young players off and you might lose them for good.

2. Players are well behaved at training
Poor behaviour is a good indicator that players are not enjoying training. If your kids are always productively engaged and challenged then there is no time or energy left over to misbehave. Excessive downtime, repetitive exercises or moves that are too challenging will provoke boredom, or worse, frustration.

3. Players smile and laugh at training
A smile is an obvious but important indicator that your players are having fun and enjoying training. Remember, it’s not school, so you can relax and have a few jokes with them too. That said, a lot of young boys can be quite insecure, so it’s always best to start by poking fun at yourself or a fellow coach to show that there is no harm intended.

4. Players are happy to talk to you and feel safe asking questions
A fun environment is a safe environment in a young player’s mind. If they are happy, they are far more likely to take risks, and a young player asking questions in front of their peers can be seen by them as a risk. Make sure you are approachable at all times. You can start your answers with “That’s an excellent question, I’m sure other people are thinking the same thing”. This sets the player’s mind at rest and lets them all know that anything they ask will be taken seriously.

5. Players buy into the ‘team’ and genuinely feel part of the squad
Always be on the lookout for players who are at the periphery of the squad. Often they will be doing their own thing while the others are enjoying themselves before or after training. Make an extra effort to include them in everything you do. Always pick teams yourself rather than letting players do it. This gives you an opportunity to split up cliques and integrate everyone. With that in mind, encourage players to buy into the team by wearing team kit to training and games. It’s the little things that really work in terms of bonding a team together. Players will always be drawn to their mates, but if you can draw the whole team into liking and respecting you, then you have the complete.

Thursday’s sweat is Saturday’s glory

DCPutting the effort in at training is important and I always want to see my players trying their best at training sessions. But they need a framework to do so….

The exercises and drills you use must be relevant to the coaching point you are getting across.

This week I wanted to work on the agility of my players as well as other aspects of fitness. I find that one of the best ways to do this is set up an agility course that I can show them being worked on by players from the English Premier League.

Watching EPL players doing something often makes youth players work harder and that is something you want at every training session.

Practice is how your players develop so what they work on during your coaching sessions is what they take with them to the next match – a poor training session often results in a poor game.

How do players weave in and out of defenders easily , or jump over a defender at an awkward angle to avoid being tackled or fouled?

So we worked on this session this week that I set up and showed the players in action on my laptop, watch it below:

Forssell shows how players and coaches need to practice

DCEveryone talks about how important it is to practice skills on your own at home or at your club – even if you’re a coach you have to practice.

I spend time practicing my skills that I then have to demonstrate to my players – if I can’t do it should I expect them to?

Watch this training video of how Mikael Forssell practices his skills so that when he gets called up to play for club or country he has quick feet to fool defenders and create goal scoring chances for himself or his team mates.