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About coachdave

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  • Location Surrey, UK
  • Interests youth soccer coaching
  1. Hi there, I agree with your points but just wanted to add enthusiasm into the mix. There is a useful article on what makes a good soccer coach and I'm including a bit of the article here for info. Click the link to see the rest of the article. The art of coaching youth soccer requires one thing in abundance... enthusiasm. It's your most important quality. Kids will respond to you if you're an eager, hard working leader. Some kids find learning boring, some don't care about winning, and some can't remember which goal they're kicking towards. But what unites them is the desire to have fun and play a game. This is our blueprint for successful soccer coaching. Think first Think about why you want to be a soccer coach and what you want to achieve from your soccer coaching drills and training sessions. Gain trust and respect. You are a role model with responsibility to your team. If you set high standards for the drills, the children will follow. Be enthusiastic and make your soccer drills fun. Praise not criticism Be patient with your kids, you get more out of them if you praise their efforts and hard work rather than criticise. Body language is important. Smiles and positive gestures will reap rewards. Shouting will not help you keep control and many parents watching may not like it. Be consistent, set achievable goals and give lots of feedback. Get the knowledge If you understand the skills and techniques involved in what you are trying to teach, you will be better equipped to pass this on. Try out the soccer drills yourself, are they too hard, too easy? Demonstrating how skills and drills work is better than using words. If you can’t do a particular skill, use one of your helpers who can.
  2. Coaching Formation Adjustment

    Hi, sorry to add another link to same thread but I've used this formation with my U10s, so it might be helpful to other youth coaches. It involves having a 2-2-1 formation with one floating player. This is an extract taken from the article at Soccer coaching tips for a formation plus one rover A lot of soccer coaches have problems finding a formation to suit their team. It's never easy getting young players to accept formations and harder still getting them to stick to them. Use these soccer coaching tips to approach the issue from a different angle. One formation you won't find written down in the text books, but one I know a lot of soccer academies use is where you have one player who is free to move wherever the team needs them. That player could be needed in defence, midfield or attack. Often coaches find there is one player in their team who is just that bit better than everyone else in all areas of the pitch. It's the equivalent of the all-rounder, and it isn't easy to pinpoint their best attribute. In this case, let them be a "rover", going where the game tells him or her to go. If the game is balanced, the rover plays in midfield. If the team is struggling, they may find themselves at the back of the team. Wherever the game needs a player, that's where they go. At the moment I am playing this formation with my U10s team. We are playing seven-a-side and the best way to keep the field balanced is to use a 2-2-1 formation with one floating player.
  3. Boys 3-4 Years - Games/drills

    Hi, in reply to the question about coaching basic soccer skills to very young children, the best place to look is The info is written by a coach who has lots of experience coaching all ages and many of the drills are age specific. The site also has a lot of practical coaching advice to offer, as well as the drills and games.
  4. Motivating A 4 Year Old

    Hi, I sympathise as my son (now 14) was very similar at the age of 4. He was daunted by the idea of doing even a soccer play scheme in the holidays but really enjoyed playing at home. We didn't pressurise him and eventually (when he was a couple of years older) he decided he did want to join the afterschool soccer club and go to the holiday play scheme run by the soccer club. It was a question of waiting until he was ready and had the confidence to go for it. One possible solution would be to arrange for friends' kids of the same age to meet up in the park and run an informal kickabout session for fun. If you go for this option, check out the fun soccer drills and games with specific age guidance on the footy4kids website Hope this helps.
  5. Age-Specific Drills And Advice

    Hi, this is the link to some drills and games for 5 to 8 year olds. One of the games, for example, is Blob Tag, you may need to follow the link so you can see the diagram that goes with the game. All the players are inside the grid. All but three have a soccer ball at their feet. The three without a ball form a 'blob' by holding hands. The blob moves freely in the grid and tries to kick any player’s ball out of the grid. If a player’s ball leaves the grid he/she joins the blob. Once a chain has six or more players, have it break apart into two smaller chains (of three people each). The last player dribbling is the winner. COACHING POINTS "Stay away from the blob"-- that's the purpose of the game. "Don’t get trapped" -- move into space away from the blob. "Keep control of the ball" -- don’t kick it too far away. "Work together" -- the blob must work as a team. They must stay together when kicking balls out of the grid. VARIATIONS Change the size of the grid. Bigger grid makes it easier for dribblers. Have blobs break into two players per blob. (Harder for dribblers).
  6. Age-Specific Drills And Advice

    If you're coaching young soccer players it's sometimes hard to find games that progress their skills but which the players enjoy. This website has a lot of specific information for different age groups, including young players. Check it out at
  7. Every soccer coach, whatever age group they're teaching, has to decide which style of play suits the team's strategy and what formation they will play. You have to work out the best formation for your team. If it’s 7-a-side, should you play 2-2-2 or 3-2-1? Or at Under 11 and 12 when you have gone to 11-a-side, you need to decide between 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. It's a good idea to have a strategy to build your formation around and you have two choices: 1. Counter-attacking style 2. Play-making style Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses and it's your job as coach to work out which style suits your team. To get more soccer coaching tips to help you work out what would be best for your team, click the link.
  8. Coaching Formation Adjustment

    This is an extract from a soccer coaching session to get your players creating a strong defending and attacking diamond formation. This is a good one to get players passing into space. Use this soccer coaching session to teach a diamond formation, which is ideal in making a strong system for defending and attacking. It helps your players cover all areas of the pitch, allowing them to focus quickly when possession is lost, or spread out in all directions for fast counter-attacks when possession is won. Importantly, the diamond also provides lots of options for passing into space. I have found that using the 2-1-2-1 diamond formation is the best for advancing 7-a-side teams from more simple formations, such as 2-2-2. With this strong diamond stretching from the attacker to defensive midfielder, it is a shape that is hard to get past and requires a skilful opposition to find a weakness. Click the link to read the rest of the article.
  9. The following essential soccer coaching tips will help you involve your team's parents effectively and deal diplomatically with any problems that they present. Parents are, obviously, necessary. Sometimes they can even be useful! You can, for example, get them to transport children, fetch balls during soccer drills and provide financial support. There will, however, be occasions when you have difficulty with one or more parents. Some may want their child to play more, while others may question your judgement as a soccer coach. You can minimise the number of times you have to deal with an angry or upset parent by following these basic soccer coaching guidelines: Have a pre-season meeting before the first drill session to discuss your plans and expectations for the season. Encourage questions from the parents and let them know that you have given a lot of thought as to how you’re going to coach their children. Express appreciation for their interest and concern. This will make them more open and at ease with you. Always listen to their ideas and feelings. Remember, they are interested and concerned because it is their children that are involved. Encourage parental involvement. Know what your objectives are and do what you believe to be of value to the team, not to the parents. No soccer coach can please everyone! Know the club and game rules. Be prepared to abide by them and to explain them to parents. Handle any confrontation one-on-one and not in a crowd situation. Try not to be defensive. Let the parent talk while you listen. Often a parent will vent their frustrations just by talking. Listen to their viewpoint, then thank them for it. Resist unfair pressure. It is your responsibility as the soccer coach to make the final decision. This doesn’t mean you can’t still listen to parents. Don’t discuss individual players with other parents. The grapevine will hang you every time. Show the same respect for each player on the team that you want the parents to show towards you. Ask parents not to criticize their children in front of anyone else. Don’t let your players be humiliated, even by their own parents. Don’t blame the players for their parents’ actions. Be consistent! If you change a rule or philosophy during the season, you may be in for trouble. At the very least, inform players and parents of any change as soon as possible. Most importantly, be fair! If you treat all your players fairly and equally you will gain their respect and that of their parents as well. Key soccer coaching tip: Remember that your children (and their parents) are not all the same. They will have a wide variety of backgrounds, beliefs and ideals. This diversity is to be valued. The challenge for you as a soccer coach is to address these differences in a positive manner so that the season will be enjoyable for everyone involved. Click the link for more soccer coaching advice
  10. Online Coaching

    There is a sister website to which is also very useful. It has over 400 soccer coaching articles, including drills, games and complete coaching sessions which are free to download. The site also has some great general coaching advice, such as how to teach respect, build good teamwork skills, help your players cope if they're experiencing a run of defeats, using peer coaching tactics, and loads more! Check out this link to an article to explain the offside law to younger players
  11. Hi, these recovery tips are taken from a rugby coaching blog but they look relevant to other sports and should be helpful to other coaches out there! In pre season, players must rest and recover. Here are five ways to work on better recovery times. 1. Straight after training: light stretching, cool shower (not hot bath), stay off the feet, drink water and sports drinks. 2. Rest days: define a rest day for each week. That means no training. It has a funny psychological effect of making players think they should be training on the other days! 3. Rest injuries in pre season. A player should isolate their injury and work on other areas. Leg injuries – upper body work. Upper body, running or cycling. 4. Recovery can include recovering the mind as well. Play other sports. 5. Sleep! Encourage players to take early nights to help their recovery process.
  12. New Season Of Tackle Approaching

    Hi, this article has lots of tips for anyone coaching youngsters and it might be helpful to focus on what you're looking for when recruiting coaching assistants - at least as far as the kids are concerned anyway! It's taken from what children want from their soccer coach Everyone involved in soccer coaching needs to understand what children want from their 'ideal' soccer coach. Most importantly, it is important to treat children with respect and not as if they were objects. They like you to listen and take notice of their feelings and opinions. A recent series of interviews with 140 young athletes in different sports gives an idea of those aspects of coaching which young athletes think are important. The opinions, which were given, may change according to sex, age, and sport; these are just the general comments. Knowledge. Coaches should know their sport well and most children prefer coaches who have participated in the sport. It provides them with credibility. Personality. Children like coaches who are friendly, happy, patient, understanding and have a sense of humour. Authority. Children like coaches to be firm but fair, and while boys, particularly, like to be worked hard they don't like to be shouted at. Taking personal interest. As they get older and more able, many young athletes like coaches to take an interest in the things they do besides sport. Reaction to performance. When they do well, children like the coach to say "Well done" but they don't like them to "go over the top." (OTT) When they do poorly, they like to be given some encouragement and told what went wrong. They want to be told how to correct mistakes and not to be shouted at or ignored. Encouragement. Most children, particularly in team sports, like to have the coach shout encouragement to them when they are competing. Decision making. Few young children express a wish to have a say in the decisions which affect them; they expect coaches to coach and trust them to make the right decisions. As they get older and more experienced, they are more likely to want to be consulted. This may be the case with13+ children Organisation. Children like coaches to be organised and present structured coaching sessions. They also like them to take responsibility for seeing that they are in the right place at the right time Instruction and feedback. Children do like to be shown what to do, how to do it and to have mistakes corrected. In short: teach them! DO: Be aware of the effect you have upon growing children. Find out what the kids expect to get out of sport with you. Be firm, fair and organised. Give credit where it is due and give help where it is needed. Be consistent. Provide learning experiences: teach. Make practice and competition fun; it needn't be silly. Set challenging goals tailored to the individual. Recognise the value of friendships between children. Show your approval whenever you can. Listen to the children Relax and enjoy yourself with the kids. Emphasise learning skill, not competing. Reward children for effort. Help children over the realisation that they might not have the ability of others. Build confidence by being positive. Reduce competitive expectations. Help those who do not want to compete. Tell children about how outcomes are affected by things other than their own ability. Remember that mistakes are part of learning. DON'T: Put kids down for not doing as well as you wanted. Shout and humiliate them. Ignore them when they need some support. Blind them with science they don't need. Overdo the praise; they won't believe you.
  13. Fun Practice

    This is a rugby coaching game for fairly young players but is might be a good one to try. It's taken from Fun game to coach core rugby skills Make practising core rugby skills part of a fun game for players with the Tiger Tails game. This is a useful game for a training session where bad weather forces play indoors. How to play Tiger Tails Each tiger has a tag belt or “tail” tucked into the back of their shorts. The tail must be visible so that other tigers can grab it. The tigers run around inside the playing area, collecting each other’s tails by pulling them out of another tiger’s shorts. When a tiger collects a tail they add it to their own in their shorts. Other tigers can now collect however many tails they have. If a tail drops to the floor, any tiger can collect it. However, the first to touch the tail wins it to avoid a tug-of-war. Tigers cannot grip their tail to stop it being collected. They need to protect their tail by sprinting away, turning, using evasion skills and screening instead. The game can be played to a time limit (two minutes, for example) and see which tiger has the most tails at the end. Set up game Prepare a 40m by 30m playing area or small gym/games hall. Use tag belts (if available) or old bibs or strips of material for the tails. Player numbers can extend to a class or squad size. Scoring The tiger with the most tails in their shorts wins. What to call out “Look for space and move into it.” “Take short steps when changing direction.” “Keep your head up to see what’s going on.”
  14. Hi, I know what you're saying about testing kids but although this is slightly off at a tangent, you can make a case for giving young players targets to aim for and to achieve this it's useful to have a baseline to measure improvement from. So the 'testing' doesn't have to be an end in itself. This article from is aall about this, but manages to make the process sound not too scary. Why assessing core soccer skills is helpful Setting goals to help your players gain the skills necessary to succeed is one of your main jobs as a soccer coach. But you'll need to assess players' baseline skills first. Before you can set a player personal objectives for the season you have to establish a baseline from which to measure their improvement. To do this you need to find out how good each of your players are at all or some of the core soccer skills of running, turning, dribbling, heading and shooting. This baseline testing is quite easily done over a couple of drill sessions, but you will need an assistant to look after the rest of the team while you run the tests. The tests recommended by the English Football Association Soccer Star programme are simple, fun and suitable for all age groups. Most players enjoy finding out how good they are at basic soccer skills. They will also: Benefit from the immediate feedback and rewards that the test results provide. Have their self-esteem boosted from seeing how they improve during the year. Be more relaxed and confident knowing that they are not expected to compete with each other. Become motivated to practise at home in between sessions. If you visit the FA website ( you’ll see how to run all of the tests. The link to the tests is Star. There are detailed diagrams of each set up and hints and tips to pass on to your players to help them do their best on test day. Please remember that you will need assistants to help you during the testing programme. You don’t have to run all of the tests. The benefits of setting individual objectives will be felt even if you set objectives in just one of the core skills. If your help is thin on the ground you should definitely consider setting your players just one or two core skills and carry out baseline testing accordingly. All this might seem like a lot of hard work for no immediate or obvious reward. I can assure you, however, that these tests are not very difficult or especially time consuming to run once you get into the swing of them – they are definitely worth the effort. Setting players' individual and achievable targets keeps them involved and allows them to experience success, even if they are not the most skilful. This is, perhaps, your own most important objective. Achieve it and you will have done a good job.
  15. Hi, these are some useful technique tips aimed at helping young soccer players who want to achieve faster sprint speeds, so they may be relevant to your son. Soccer coaching tips to improve sprint speeds Children run in all sorts of ways - you only have to go to the school sports day to see what a difference it makes if they look like a runner. It's the same for your soccer players, some will struggle to get going, whereas others are naturally speedy. But you can improve all players' running by coaching these techniques and using soccer drills to work on speed and agility. Short sprints As a soccer coach you need to know how a player should run so you can show them and get them to try it for themselves. Players need to be able to sprint in short bursts to track back when the ball is lost, for instance, or to explode into the penalty area to support an attack. This is a blueprint for you to share with your players to put them on the right track to getting more speed through technique. Balls of the Feet drill To get the full power out of the legs of the players, they need to sprint on the balls of their feet. Demonstrate this to the players by getting them to try running on the heels and on flat feet. Then have them run on the balls of the feet and feel the difference. High knees The higher the knee lift, the more power is generated when the foot returns to hit the ground. Arm drive drill Your legs move at the same speed as your arms. Get your players to jog on the spot with their arms by their sides. Then tell them to pump their arms as fast as possible and notice what happens to their legs. They will move much faster. In order to sprint efficiently the elbow joint needs to be locked at 90° and the arms need to drive backwards explosively on each step. Develop arm power with players sitting with outstretched legs. They drive their arms and try to get their backsides off the ground. Hips forward When in full flight it is important to get the hips or pelvis tilted forward. This makes sure the gluteus muscles (your backsides and the largest in the body) are used properly when sprinting. It also helps the player stay balanced when sprinting as their feet stay underneath their body. The article is taken from which has some really useful information for soccer (football) coaches, whether you're coaching youngsters or more advanced players. The drills and articles are all free to download from the site.