Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Get The Better Of Cheats In Six Steps

BY Alistair Phillips GUEST BLOGGER

Despite the best efforts of football’s governing bodies, some teams bend or even break the rules to give themselves an advantage. Here are some handy hints to help you get
the better of match day cheats…


Make sure your own team is squeaky clean and that all players understand the rules of the game and the expectations of players as stipulated in your FA’s Code of Conduct. If you have to take any form of action against a team that does turn out to be cheating, it will be taken much more seriously if you and your own players have a reputation for fair play.


Prior to kick off present the opposing coach with your list of your registered players. By doing this you should encourage them to do the same thing and you will be able to check they are using only properly registered players. It also sets out your stall as a stickler for doing things the right way and as someone who holds the rules of the game in high esteem.


If a team you are due to face has a bit of a reputation or you have experienced problems when playing them in the past, remind your players of the need to remain disciplined at all times. Tell them not react to any heavy challenges or verbal provocation during the game but to inform you of any problems they have at half-time and at the end of the game.


When the referee arrives, make sure you introduce yourself and go through a few points briefly before the game. Ask that he punishes bad behaviour and foul play, perhaps letting slip you have had some problems with this in previous games. Then go to your opposing coach and relay the contents of your chat, making sure they are happy with this in advance.


Be vocal if you see any cheating during a game but in a way that will not inflame the situation. Remind your team to play to the whistle if a decision goes against you and try and establish eye contact with the referee when you do this. If things have got really bad, speak to the ref at half-time but remember to invite your opposite number into the conversation if you do so.


At the end of the game make sure your players shake hands with all opposing players. Listen out for any ‘under-thebreath’ remarks and, if you hear any, act on it by reporting what you hear to your opposing coach first. The match may be over but your opponents will remember this before you play them next time. Remember to congratulate your team for playing by the rules.


GUEST BLOG: Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids Have a Good Player-Coach Relationship


Nancy Parker

Respect is at the center of the player-coach relationship. With a setting that is based on respectful behavior, all members of a team can thrive. A parent’s role in helping a child to have a good relationship with a coach is one of instruction, encouragement and support. Unless you, the parent, are the one doing the coaching, it’s not possible to control how the coaching is handled. However, you can work to provide positive support that will enable a child to have a good experience.


Age-Appropriate Expectations
Although children at different levels have different physical and behavioral abilities, it’s always possible to teach respect. Important aspects of respectful behavior include paying attention when the coach speaks or models a skill, listening without interrupting, following directions, trying new skills and asking questions in a polite manner. Additionally, respectful behavior involves not being distracted by other kids. Simple use of polite words and behaviors can also help form a positive relationship. Teach your child to thank the coach for his time at the end of practice.

A young child can stray off task easily, and distractions are common in early league levels. However, coaches working with young children are generally trained to keep activities shorter to accommodate age-related needs. As children grow older, more attentive behavior can be expected as longer drills and activities are provided. Help a child to enjoy a good relationship with coaches at any level by reinforcing respectful behavior with encouraging words. Correct your child when inappropriate behavior is observed, and be sure to praise positive behavior.

Model Respectful Behavior
Your child doesn’t have control over his arrival time. Being late to practices and games can create problems for the coach, and it’s on you to make sure your child arrives on time. The team can also suffer if multiple kids are late or absent. Good communication from a parent can help. Let your child’s coach know if he will be absent or late. Make it a point to be on time for official activities. Follow through on commitments to the team, especially those involving things like after-game snacks or important forms.

A parent who expects a child to show respect for an authority figure like a coach must also model such behavior. If you bad-mouth the coach’s style, decisions or other actions, your child may assimilate some of these same sentiments into his own behavior. If he perceives negativity on the part of Mom or Dad, he may feel that he is justified in acting out or criticizing on his own.

No coach is perfect, and parents often disagree about a coach’s decisions. However, helping a child to have a positive experience means that it’s important to avoid attacking his coach publicly or privately. This can be tough, especially if there is a perception that the coach hasn’t treated a child fairly. However, it’s important to remember the power you have as a role model.

Act in a Supporting Role
Coaches often appreciate the availability of parents during practices and games. Having a parent available makes it possible to quickly deal with serious behavioral issues. Additionally, having a few parents help out can lighten the duties of the coach by making it easier to manage drills and other administrative tasks. Consider volunteering as a team parent and assisting a coach in coordinating distribution of team notices, uniforms or fundraising materials. Demonstrate a willingness to help set an example for a child while supporting the coach. Parental support can do a lot to keep a child’s relationship with the coach positive.

Dealing with Differences
It’s important to realize that no matter how attentive and cooperative a child is, the player-coach relationship is two-sided. There will be times when a parent may not agree with how a play is handled, where a child is positioned, or when a child has to sit out for a play (or longer). An unintended slight can lead to a negative relationship between parents, players and coaches. It’s important to address concerns directly with the coach. Similarly, teach a child to ask questions respectfully if he disagrees with how a situation has been handled. Help your youngster understand that the coach is the leader and has the responsibility for decision-making. It’s important not to over-exaggerate small issues. At the same time, a pattern of oversights may require some private discussion.

Ongoing Development
Your child will have many coaches over time. Every coach will be unique in his approach to team discipline, drills and game strategies. It’s important to help your child understand that respect is an ongoing priority. Encourage him with positive points at the beginning of a season, and continue to model support and cooperation in order to facilitate a pleasant player-coach relationship.

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No ifs, no BUTs

DCThink about the word BUT.

“You did really well…” your player is on the up “BUT… you could do better” you’ve taken away all the good and they feel bad about themselves. You think you’ve been positive but you haven’t

Try using phrases without using BUT.

Here’s my top four:

“You should be proud of yourself” – get the player to think about their own performance. There’s nothing quite like patting yourself on the back after achieving something worthwhile.

“You were brilliant this week” – qualify when the player did well. He’ll realise you’re assessing him each week and will feel he has improved from the last session.

“I couldn’t have done that better myself” – never underestimate how much players look up to you. If you’re putting them on your level, that’s a huge confidence boost.

“Nothing can stop you now” – can there be any bigger plaudit? Today the local pitch, tomorrow the Premier League!

Why do kids love the game? Watch below:

Sorry coach, I forgot my boots

dave clarkeIt’s raining heavily. I’ve just gone outside to put some things in the car and I’m already soaked. The pitch is going to be a nightmare.

To be fair there hasn’t been many matches this season where the rain has spoiled things but I can tell this is not going to be fun. We have two matches to play with one of my three teams having the Saturday off. The pouring rain brings added problems – two players phone up ‘ill’ so we have not substitutes for the first game.

We’re playing a team that is top of the division above us so it’s going to be a test and judging from the state of the pitch when I arrive at the ground the ball will not be easy to pass.

During the first half one of my players is like Bambi on ice. He can’t stay on his feet so he’s not tackling or intercepting any passes like he usually does. Suddenly it dawns on those of us watching that he’s playing in trainers.

It hadn’t crossed my mind that any of the players would forget their boots but today of all days he’s forgotten his. His dad runs to look in the car but they aren’t there. We lose the game 4-2 – after being 2-1 down at half time. The difference between the teams was the size of one of their players, the boggy pitch so we couldn’t play our normal passing game – and of course my player without his boots.

It is worth checking when your team arrives on match days that everyone has all their kit with them including shinpads and boots. There would have been time for his dad to drive home and get them had I checked or had he told me, but because I neglected this small task it had a big effect on our game.

Players slipping can give goals away… or make you miss. Go to my blog and see some clips of Kieran Gibbs for Arsenal and John Terry for Chelsea slipping at vital times.

Running with the ball – like Theo Walcott

There is no finer sight whether you’re watching junior soccer or professionals to see a player running at with the ball under control and destroying the other team.

This is why you shouldn’t tell your players to always pass the ball when they have created space. If they run into that space they are threatening the opposition causing them to react in a different way. Running at a back four means the defenders are caught between going to the runner with the ball and the other attackers moving into dangerous positions.

If they are pressed and can’t beat the player then they can pass and the result will be another player running into space.

Very difficult to defend against. It’s running with the ball and facing 1v1 decisions on the way to goal. I they can run with the ball the whole way they will have split the opposition defence open and have a good chance of scoring.

Give your players the freedom to run with the ball and don’t tell them off if they lose it!

Watch Theo Walcott do it below:

Why football coaching at Adult Sunday League is still so important

Hi, my name is Ashley and I have been given the opportunity to post an article here on the blog. I’d like to thank Dwyer for the invite!

I am 26 years old and play Sunday football in a local Essex (England) league. A couple of seasons ago I made the decision to drop down a couple of leagues to join up with my friends and play for a different team. I don’t regret the decision but over this period I’ve noticed clear differences in the standard, football player behaviour and general attitude towards football on a Sunday morning.

This football season has been a disaster to put it bluntly. Bad habits have crept into the team and although we cannot expect Premier League status fitness, wages or TV coverage the simplest things were missing from our team. Our inability to do the simple things on the pitch let us down badly. To coach a football group of adults to do some simple drills, stretches and sprints before the game falls on deaf ears if you do not have a committed coaching structure in place. As the captain of the team I have found it hard to influence others to be as committed throughout the season.

Some of the other teams in the Sunday league include established local footballers who have played and now coach with passion. They organise the team properly, they have planned and structured training sessions, they know about fitness and hydration, they communicate positively from the touchline and they have enough support week in week out to get the team playing.

It’s no surprise that these football teams have hauled in the points this season. I can only think of a couple of occasions where we have matched them for fight and passion. But not having a proper football coaching structure and team discipline has let us down badly. On a number of occasions we haven’t even had enough players or subs to run the line.

I’ve now taken the decision to play for a new team in a different district and what I have seen watching two games with my new team confirms to me that organisation is the key. Although the ability of the players may not be hugely different, it’s the way that they perform as a team which makes the biggest difference. There have a considerable amount of respect for each other and the coaches and this is shown throughout the team.

I’m looking forward to a new challenge but I will miss the social side of meeting up with old school friends on a Sunday. But this football season has taught me that even at adult amateur level basic coaching needs to be applied to get the best results.