Rookie soccer coaches: 7 tips to make your first season a success
So you've been asked to coach, and you have either no experience coaching soccer, or it's been years since you have played. Dribbling a ball is like riding a bike, right? Before your first practice, be sure to read these seven tips. They will not only help you build confidence in yourself, but lay the foundation for your families to develop trust in your abilities as well. Now, repeat after me, “I’ve got this.”
1. It is not you, it’s them
We had our sports careers. It is time for them to have theirs. Make everything about your players and not about your former or future career.
2. Watch your words
Remember their age and use words they understand. The more you can connect skills and concepts to language they understand, the easier it will be to learn. For instance, young ones may not understand inside and outside of foot, but they know big toe and pinkie toe.
3. Idle feet, idle minds
They learn by playing, not standing. Try to put them in situations where they are all moving and getting touches on the ball. Keep lines short. When you teach something, don’t lecture for hours on end. Get in, say what you need to say, and get them back to playing.
4. Don’t forget game time
Kids learn by having the courage to fail in game situations. Let them play games so they can explore and learn. The game is the best teacher if you create an environment where they have the courage to fail, the honesty to fix admit it, and the courage to fix it.
5. Celebrate the little wins
Every little victory is a stepping stone to greater success. Be sure to celebrate every little learning moment and new skill. They will get discouraged if they cannot learn the larger aspects of the game and have no stepping stones along the way.
6. Keep it simple silly
We make the game too complex. Keep your sessions simple. Teach one or two topics at a time. Speak in simple language. Break skills and concepts into smaller steps for them to learn. If we make it simple, we reduce their amount of frustration or feelings of being overwhelmed.
7. Don’t forget to have fun
Most children sport to have fun, socialize, and learn a skill. They don’t sport to be frustrated, scared, or belittled. They will sense when you are not having fun and will tune out on you. Make it as fun as possible for yourself and for them. If it is fun they will want to play for a lifetime.
Not a big reader? Digest these tips in a helpful 2 minute video that you can watch on your lunch break or in car before the first practice:
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