Being the best soccer coach / football coach you can be

As a soccer coach / football coach you should always want to learn and become better. As the team grows you need to grow with it as if you don’t the team may outgrow you. After every soccer coaching / football coaching session and you should be able to objectively analyse your performance and look at what you need to change and improve. If you don’t feel like you can be objective get someone who you trust to give you feedback. When you get that feedback be sure to take it on board and do something with it. As a soccer coach / football coach you can always improve and develop. The moment you stop wanting to do that is the moment you start going backwards. Sometimes it only takes experiencing a real situation to improve but sometimes you can improve without having to have an experience, so don’t wait every time until you experience something in soccer coaching / football coaching to change your ways. It’s like sometimes you only truly know what you would do as a football coach / soccer coach when you are in the heat of the moment and faced with the situation. It’s easy to say what you would do if a certain situation arose but actually having to deal with it is a different kettle of fish. It’s like if a spectator was being abusive; you know you should deal with them, but would you have the nerve to go over to them and sort the situation out? Learn from every experience you have and even if you didn’t handle it right the first time put it down to experience and remember it for the next time. Take time to look at how other soccer coaches / football coaches in your league are coaching and see what they are doing differently. As a soccer coach / football coach you have to be your own person so I am not saying that you should copy somebody else but don’t be afraid to take ideas you like from other coaches and weave them in to your own style.

As a soccer coach / football coach you have to adapt to your team - your team shouldn’t adapt to you. As a soccer coach / football coach you are there first and foremost to get the players playing the best they possibly can be, not adapting to your style of football coaching / soccer coaching. If your way of soccer coaching / football coaching gets the best out of the players then do it but if it fails to do so then you have to change. If you want long term success as a soccer coach / football coach you need to be versatile.

Always try and get as many qualifications as possible. Qualifications don’t necessarily make you a better soccer coach / football coach but what they do show is that you have committed yourself to soccer coaching / football coaching and learning. You never know when those qualifications may come in handy as they may unlock doors and positions that you wouldn’t be able to get without those qualifications. Read a lot about soccer coaching / football coaching and psychology – it could help improve the way you coach soccer / football. Watch soccer / football DVDs with soccer drills / football drills and soccer training / football training techniques as well as soccer / football matches on TV. Search through the soccer drills / football drills here on canyouplayfootball.com – all will help build up your soccer coaching / football coaching experience and knowledge. Your players train to play soccer / football so you should train to coach. If you are unsure of how to do a soccer drill / football drill, practice it before training, get some players together, set it up, and trial it. Do the same if you have come up with some new training techniques. Don’t wait until training night and hope it works out. If it doesn’t it will waste time and make you look like you don’t know what your doing which won’t win you the players confidence. Always have a plan before the soccer training / football training session and evaluate how it went afterwards. On top of weekly plans you need to have long-term plans of what you want to achieve with the team, and of how you want to develop as a football coach / soccer coach so always keep them in your mind and tick them off as you go. Sometimes based on uncontrollable circumstances your plans might go out of the window and you may need to think on your feet, but this will be the exception and not the rule. You should be prepared for it and able to deal with it, but it shouldn’t stop you from creating weekly soccer drill / football drill plans.

Treat every soccer training / football training session and game as a new challenge. The moment you start getting lethargic is the same moment that your players will and the moment your football coaching goes downhill. Your job as a soccer coach / football coach is to enthuse players - keep it fresh for them. If you think soccer training / football training is getting boring there is a good chance that your players are finding it boring as well.

If you don’t feel confident going straight in to soccer coaching / football coaching try your hand as an assistant coach to someone who you know is a good soccer coach / football coach. If you are working under a good coach you can learn good habits and get that all important experience. The only problem is if you are working under a bad soccer coach / football coach and don’t realize this you can pick up bad habits which are hard to rectify.

If a soccer training / football training session goes badly don’t get down about it. All coaches make mistakes and have bad soccer training / football training sessions or bad games; the key thing is to learn from it and change it for next time. When something goes wrong always work out the reasons why it went wrong and then deal with them.

Your career progression as a soccer coach / football coach depends on what type of coach you want to be. Do you want to stick with one team and take them as far as they can go, or do you want to get experience soccer coaching / football coaching as many different teams and age groups as possible? It’s up to you what you want to get out of it. Most youth soccer coaches / youth football coaches stick with one team until they go into adult football/soccer and then some will then call it a day or some will then go on the lookout for another team to coach.

As a soccer coach / football coach regardless of what’s happening and what you are feeling on the inside always be confident. The moment you lose your confidence is when people will start questioning you, or your players will start playing up. If you give off a persona of thinking you are the best then the moment things go wrong will be the moment your soccer coaching / football coaching and your standing will be brought in to question. The best policy is even if you are the best soccer coach / football coach in the land stay modest and let your soccer coaching / football coaching and your players do the talking for you. A good coach in youth soccer / football is judged on how many of their young players are enjoying it and how they have developed as footballer, nothing more.

Extracts taken from ‘A guide to surviving youth football’ by Adam Sibley. Visit www.theyouthfootballguide.com for more information.

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