Soccer coaching is an art that takes years to master. From reading the game to understanding what each player needs, the skill set required to be an elite soccer coach is large. While it’s difficult to achieve success, you can make yourself better with these seven tips for becoming an elite soccer coach.
What are the 7 tips to becoming an elite soccer coach?
You must put together a team of people whom you trust then give this team a goal. A playing style will be a vital component of this process. You must make sure your players are improving within this playing style. The coach must then manage the attitude and behavior of the players whilst providing a safe but enjoyable environment that allows them to thrive.
Get Your Team Together
You want to build a team that works together. If your players are not committed to the team then it’s not worth your time. The best way to build a team is to start with the coaching staff. Be honest with your players and tell them the expectations of the team. You want to create a culture where players are committed to one another.
Find players who are passionate about soccer, care about the team, are coachable, and are willing to learn. Make sure you have a core group of players so you can have the best chance of success.
Give them objectives- Every player needs to know what they need to focus on at every practice. You need to make sure that you give them objectives that are manageable and measurable. If they do this, then they will be better players at the end of the year.
Share these objectives with the team so they know what is expected of them. Players need to know what they are trying to achieve in practice.
Give them a Goal
Every team needs a goal that is measurable, achievable, and something they want to focus on achieving. Make sure this goal is written down and shared with everyone on your team so they know what you expect.
One way to help your players stay committed is to give them a goal. This is what will help them stay focused and committed to the team. If you don’t give them a goal, they’ll just play for fun and you’ll lose them. And if you lose the players, you won’t have a team!
The goal can be anything from making it to the playoffs to getting better at shooting to getting better grades in school. Make sure the goal is measurable and achievable. It should be something your players want to achieve.
Develop Your Own Playing Style
It’s important to develop your playing style, but don’t make it too complicated. If you make it too complicated, players will lose interest and will not want to continue practicing with you.
You must be able to teach them simple moves that will help them improve their game. Once they can execute these moves, then bring in more challenging moves.
It’s also important that you can show them how they will be successful by teaching them the right way to play the game.
When teaching these things to your team, use drills that are fun and engaging so they will want to keep playing.
Make Sure They are Improving
It may seem obvious, but players need to improve their skills. If the players are not improving, then why are you coaching?
You should make sure that your team is improving. You can do this by taking their current skills and finding ways to expand them, rather than always focusing on what they are not good at.
One way to make sure the players are improving is to have them keep a journal that tracks their progress. They can write down things they are working on to improve, what they are struggling with, and even what they are doing well.
When they review their journal at the end of the season, it will be obvious whether or not they improved.
It’s also important to tell them they are improving. When you say it, they will believe it and see themselves as someone who is making improvements.
Manage the Players Attitudes
One of the hardest things to manage for a soccer coach is the player attitude. You may have had some players that just don’t care and don’t want to play anymore. The best way to help with this is to show them the benefits of playing and what they can achieve through it.
You can also talk to the parents and ask about their attitude. It’s hard to change a player’s mindset on their own, so talking with their parents can be a great way to get them on board with your team.
It’s also important that you don’t lose your attitude. If you’re not motivated then the players won’t be either. If you’re feeling burnt out, then take a break and come back when you’re feeling refreshed.
Learn from the best: One of the best ways to improve your coaching is to learn from others. There are many great coaches in your field that have been there before you, so find one and ask them for advice. They will be happy to help and give you tips on how they improved their coaching skills.
Find a mentor: A good coach is never done learning and improving, so find a mentor that you can learn from. You can find a coach that is 10 years ahead of you. Imagine the progress you could make.
Build their Mental Toughness
One of the most important skills a player can have is mental toughness.
Mental toughness is the ability to mentally withstand pressure and persist through adversity. It is a trait elite athletes share and is one of the most important skills a player can have.
“I think as coaches, we need to be mindful of teaching this skill,” says Greg Smith, a mental toughness expert, and former Olympic athlete. “Mental toughness is a lifelong skill that needs to be developed and refined.”
You must communicate your expectations to the players and be ultra-clear with this. You need to design practices and activities that challenge players mentally then provide them with a range of coping skills so you don’t leave them hanging in their moment of need.
Regulating emotions is vital to building mental toughness. Players must know that win lose or draw, their effort and commitment should not wavier. They should embrace adversity and enjoy the pressure that it brings. Bouncing back from failure is something that mentally tough performers can do.
It might be useful to set some targets are goals around mental toughness as a way of keeping track of how they cope.
Make Sure They are Safe
Soccer is a high-impact sport and to keep your players safe, it’s important they don’t play when they are injured. But sometimes, players will try to play through the pain and jeopardize their health. To avoid this, it’s important to enforce a no-contact policy. This way, they know they can trust you to keep them safe.
The playing environment could also jeopardize the health of the players and become unsafe. If you are playing on a new surface or setting up a playing area you have a duty of care to ensure that it is safe for your performers. Minimize risk by checking these things before you start a practice.
Be mindful of the weather conditions players train in. Make sure they have the correct kit for cold wet and rainy environments, if you hear thunder or see lightning you should immediately end your practice and take the players to somewhere safe.
Don’t keep the players out because you think it will toughen them up, your player’s safety is far more important than your ego.
Staying up to date with basic health, safety, and welfare is vital to your continuous professional development. Don’t let your qualifications expire courses like first aid could help you in a moment of need.
Finally, make sure they are having fun. Once you have created a safe place to practice, you can set back and begin to coach.
Playing soccer is meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience and it should never become a chore. Trust your players and give them the freedom they need to express themselves on the field. They will respond in kind and always do their best for you and the team.
These 7 tips are a good place to start if you are interested in coaching soccer. The article has offered some practical advice to help you appreciate what is expected if you decide to coach. Mastering the skill of coaching is something that will take time, mistakes, practice, and feedback.
Don’t be afraid to try new things, if you do have a mentor make sure you use them and try to explain what you are trying to do if you are trying something different. High risk can often mean higher rewards and you adopt a growth mindset you will learn quickly and develop the way you hope to.
There are some other skills that you should look to master to build up your coaching ability. I will link a few articles below from this site that will provide practical advice and improve your overall ability to coach. Each article will open in a new window.
- How To Increase Mental Toughness In Soccer (6 tips)
- 8 Tips For Successful Soccer Coaching
- How to Design a Better Practice in Soccer?
- How To Keep Learning As A Soccer Coach