October 13, 2009
Coaching Different Types of Soccer Players by Jim Smoot
Coaching Different Types of Soccer Players
by Jim Smoot : a licensed soccer coach and referee, and has been involved in the game for 15 years.
One thing you will have to understand early on when learning how to coach youth soccer is that not all soccer players are created equal. While we all understand that to be true in terms of physical ability, it goes much deeper than that. There are also a lot of differences in the mental and emotional makeup of your players.
Figuring out how to coach youth soccer is as much about understanding the mental part of the game as it is in understanding the physical parts of the game. Understanding what motivates a player, and how to get the most out of them can help you elevate the play of any team, regardless of the talent.
The first difference between players is the level of competitiveness. Not all players feel a drive to win. Some of your players like soccer for the shear fun of the game, they like to play, and the like the chance to run around and do things with their friends. You will also have players that may not really care about the game. They came out for soccer either out of curiosity, or because their parents told them they had to do something, and soccer seemed like the best alternative. Winning is not as important to these players, and you will not be able to push them quite as hard as players that are motivated by victory.
Another difference in players is in aggressiveness. You will have some players that are not at all intimidated by other players. They will take on an opponent and fight for the ball regardless of the size of the competition. Other players on your team are more timid and will be much less likely to compete for 50-50 balls. Sometimes that can be overcome by running drills that teach aggressiveness. Some players just need to be shown that they can compete, and that is alright to bump opponents off of the ball, when it is done correctly.
It is not an easy balance in trying to bring all of the different physical and mental characteristics of your players together and get them all playing together as one team. But that is what learning how to coach youth soccer is all about. It is about learning how to tone the overly aggressive player down, while at the same time getting the overly timid player to turn it up. It still boils down to creating an environment that your players can have fun at practice and during the games; where they are free to learn, and free to fail. It is about coaching soccer in a way that allows your players to be kids, while still learning more about soccer, and about being a team.
Check back next week for another great article about Coaching.