Coaching And Developing A Young Football Team
Training a young football team can be a rewarding and sometimes frustrating experience. If you’ve got the drive and determination, it is possible to put together a winning team in a short space of time. Basic training and iron discipline will pay dividends, but you have to ask the question: Are you doing this to help the young players, or are you feeding your own ego?
Your job as a youth coach should be to play a longer game. Put your pride to one side and be prepared to lose the odd game that you thought was an easy win, and your patience will be rewarded with a team of confident, well rounded young people that will enjoy the game regardless of the result.
The Premiership scouts that attend football trials across the country often speak about how character and the fire of determination are just as important as raw talent. Younger players need to develop their personalities and address the challenges that team play will often throw their way. Winning comes a distinct second for the intelligent coach.
What If I’ve Never Coached A Youth Team? Where Do I Start?
It all starts with your personality. Not everyone has the patience to work with a team of children. It takes a great deal of restraint and level headedness, with kindness and respect being the most important assets you can possess.
At the earliest stages, your time is best spent helping the children to bond with one another, and then to master the basic skills required to control a ball well. Training and games should all focus on personal skill. Passing and teamwork and can all be taught more efficiently once a child has the confidence to handle the ball well.
It’s important to realise too, that older teens respond better to tactical training, but have less capacity to learn new motor skills. Tailoring training to a child’s age is therefore vital for long term success.
Learn To Take A Back Seat In The Beginning
It’s not 1983. It’s time to stop lecturing the team and stop disciplining them with laps of the playing field. If you’re dealing with very young players, don’t worry too much about your practices looking like unorganised kickabouts. Take a back seat and observe. Leave the long speeches for the end of practice. With time, you’ll be able to assess what you’re working with and develop a longterm plan. Make sure you communicate this plan to the parents too.
Older Players Can Help
As mentioned earlier, anything you can do to facilitate better ball control skills is going to help your young players in the long run. If you’re going to use professional footballers as examples for your students, then make sure you focus on their individual skills. You can even bring in older players from adult clubs to help out and provide some inspiration during training sessions.
Just remember that your coaching style should reflect your role as a mentor and guide and you’ll develop a confident, happy, and well rounded youth football team. Something you can truly be proud of.