December 29, 2009
Problems in Youth Coaching by John Dingle
Youth Soccer Coaches need to be aware of the following five potential problems in youth coaching.Intimidation/Anger
You do not have to look far for an example of negative coaching. Anger used towards young children has been documented in the newspapers, television and the internet. This method of coaching forces players to adopt a fear of failure. Players do not experiment, take risks, develop, or enjoy their soccer experience. Children that play in an anger filled environment are more likely to not return to the sport the following year. Meeting the Needs of Only a Few There is a wide range in player’s soccer ability at this age. Children who physically mature early and those with older siblings often are more developed in their soccer abilities. Do you know of any teachers that walk into a classroom and structure the class work, homework, and testing to only meet the needs of the top two or three students? The goal of the coach needs to be the same as the goal of teacher: to challenge and develop all the players. Meeting the needs of all players on your team can be the greatest challenge you will face in coaching at this age level. I and almost all child experts do not recommend sifting players on ability. Tryouts are needed to sift players and children at this age are not prepared to be told they are not good enough. No one at any degree of success has been able to predict player’s futures at this early age. Coach Driven Drills Drills designed by coaches that do not allow for players to make decisions on where to run, or how to manipulate the ball are coach driven activities. Coaching Moments Not Principles Coaches must give information that is specific to the situation with specific information that pertains to the principles of play. Most coaching is general to the moment and players do not understand how to differentiate this information in other situations.
- General Example: Go to the ball.
- Specific Example: When the ball is not in possession go to it as quickly as possible:
- General Example: Do not fall for fancy footwork.
- Specific Example: When the opponent has the ball, be patient and only commit to gain possession when they loose control.
As you can see specific information gives the player knowledge and general information presents problems for the future. A player that was just told to not fall for fancy footwork may think to themselves, but coach you just told me to go to the ball. Coaching with Lines, Laps and Lectures The three ‘L’s’ in coaching need to be eliminated. All three prevent players from playing and getting better in soccer. While players are in line they are not on task. Eliminate lines by having multiple groups. Laps may develop fitness but at the expense of time with the ball. Eliminate laps by using activities in the warm up and throughout the training session that require movement. Lectures bore players. These same players have been lectured to all day in school and have come to training to play. Eliminate lectures by limiting yourself to giving twenty seconds of information at a time.
Check back next week for another great coaching article.