Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


What advice would you give about coaching your own child

Question

I understand you coach your sons’ teams… I am now coaching my own child… what advice would you give?

Answer

davidscwnew1There are a number of things you need to do to try and find the right balance when coaching your son’s team…

Don’t favour them

Don’t build your team around your child. You might truly believe they are among the more talented and intelligent members of the team but resist the temptation to make them the main striker, captain, penalty-taker and free-kick specialist all rolled into one.

Don’t forget them

If you’ve taken on the challenge of managing a team with one of your children in it, there’s a strong possibility they could be among the better players, but while you can’t favour them, don’t go too far the other way and leave them with no responsibilities.

Don’t get angry with them

Don’t vent your frustrations on your child publicly. It’s much easier to do this with your own offspring rather than with other people’s kids because, unless you have the perfect child, you will have told them off in public before. But you mustn’t do this at training or at matches, as it will make them feel like they are being singled out unfairly.

Talk to them after soccer

Do talk to your child after games and training and specifically focus on the football. Let them know why you have made some of the decisions you have and remind them that you have to be fair to the team as a whole and treat them simply as another squad member during soccer sessions.

Don’t tell them too much

Don’t let your child become more than just another player. They may be party to some of your tactics and formations before anyone else, but make sure they don’t start imparting this to the rest of the team and certainly don’t talk to them about the other players. Resist the temptation to turn them into your assistant manager.

Don’t let soccer take over

Do make sure that the team doesn’t take over your relationship with your child. It’s easy to get very involved in youth soccer and you are bound to talk about the game a fair bit with your child as a result, but make an effort to compartmentalise it so you still have a normal parent/child relationship outside of football.

Don’t push too hard

Don’t push your child too hard. It’s great when everyone can see they are a good player because their inclusion in the team justifies itself but, if they have a bad run of form, gently encourage them – do a bit of one-to-one work or rest them for a while.

Encourage other activities

Do encourage your child to play for other teams and to participate in different sports. Not only does this keep their fitness levels up (as long as it’s not overdone) but they will be subject to a different coaching perspective and they may even come back with a greater appreciation of the job you are doing as coach.

Make sure they are happy

Don’t forget why you got involved in the first place. Your child may not be the only reason why you are a youth soccer coach any more, but it will have been the first reason you got involved. So always make sure your child is comfortable with your involvement generally.

Be able to take a step back

Do remember that everyone in your team is someone else’s child and therefore observed by someone through rose-tinted glasses. Every so often try to take a step back and ask yourself the question: are you being as fair and as even-handed as you possibly can to everyone in your team, including your child.

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Children want a coach like this

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Play Like Juan Mata in Midfield

Encourage your players to be as creative as Juan Mata around the penalty area and teach them the importance of a well-weighted pass and a well-timed run.

Why use it

Creativity around the box is vital to ensuring the creation of scoring chances. The type and accuracy of pass are key, as is a good first touch from players receiving the ball. This session will help players perfect the timing and angles of their runs to support the playmakers.

Set up

Use an area half the size of your usual pitch. Put a normal goal at the penalty area end and place three target goals at the opposite end. We’ve used 14 players in the session.

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How to play

The team attacking the main goal has eight players in a 3-2-3 formation and the defending team has five players in a 1-2-2 formation. Attacks start from one of the small goals, taking turns to start from each one, so attacks will go down the two wings and down the middle.

The first pass must be into those areas each time. If the defenders win the ball they can try to score in the three target goals. Rotate positions regularly.

Technique

This is about exploiting areas around the penalty box with clever passes, good skills and movement from an attacking overload situation.

It involves three different attacking situations to give match-style variety.



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Developing a Coaching Philosophy

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8 tips for first time coaches

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Simple 1 v 1 goalkeeper drill

Middlesbrough stopper Victor Valdes is great at pulling off saves when he goes one-on-one with a striker – and if you run this session your goalkeepers could master the art too.

Why use it

This session is great fun to play and good practice for getting your goalkeeper to dive at the feet of strikers that have raced clear of your defenders. It is a good activity for taking the fear out of goalkeeping.

Set up

For this session we have used our penalty area and a normal sized goal. You can set these up at either ends of the pitch or if you take the net off your goal, you can have back-to-back goalkeepers.

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How to play

Place seven balls around the edge of the penalty area D, and have your keeper in goal. Players take turns to go 1v1 with the keeper using the seven balls – once one ball goes dead, the striker runs to get the next ball and the goalkeeper has to run and touch the goal line in his goal before facing the next attack.

This is tiring work so rest the players after each turn of seven balls.

Technique

The goalkeeper needs to come off his line and try to smother the shots as the striker turns and tries to beat him. The session is also a physical workout, and as the striker tires it should be easier for the keeper to stop him.