Soccer Coach Canada Weekly Newsletter

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The Perfect Gifts For Your Players

If you give the below gifts to your players you will benefit from your generosity as well. In fact your entire team, club and country will benefit.

About 75% of children playing soccer quit before they turn 14. The most common reasons given for quitting are below:

  • Lack of playing time
  • Overemphasis on winning
  • Other activities are more interesting
  • Lack of fun
  • Coaching/Adult behaviours

You can break this trend by taking on the role of Santa this season and give the gifts that keep on giving!

Equal Playing Time: The number 1 reason for quitting is the most important and if we take care of number 1 the other reasons may be taken care of as well. Evaluations are over and your team’s roster was posted two or three months ago. You have 12 to 20 players on your team…these are your players…this is your team. Why can’t coaches accept this? Why must we continue to favour the most skilled players on the roster and wish the bottom 3 or 4 would just go away. Smart coaches will treat all of the players as important members of the team. If you give all of your players equal playing time the ones with a little less skill will catch up to the rest and before you know it your team will have depth and will be better as a whole.

Find New Ways To Measure Success: Don’t overemphasize winning. Start keeping stats individually and as a team. Measure your player’s fitness and skills at the beginning, middle and end of your season. There are several great free or inexpensive apps that you can use to measure possession, shots on goal, # of passes, etc. Set up goals based on these statistics. If your players or team improve in any areas from the start to the finish they are winners.

Ask Them What They Want: This is a super easy yet effective way to keep soccer interesting to your players. Have a one-on-one conversation with each of your players and ask them what you can do to make their overall experience more enjoyable. You will likely be surprised by the answers you get. Ex. “Coach I want to play goal.” You may not be able to fulfill their every request but they will greatly appreciate the fact that you asked them at all.

Kids Don’t Like Gifts That Aren’t Fun: What 12 year old boy wants socks for Christmas? Socks aren’t fun! Boring drills aren’t fun either! Kids want games for Christmas and they want games at practice as well. Make sure you use a variety of small sided games every practice. Your players will have a ball and since this is the best way for players to learn the game, you will also benefit…big time.

Poor Behaviour Is Not OK: Nobody likes Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch and they won’t like you either if you continue to show a lack of respect to your players, the opposition and the officials. Don’t be selfish. It is a great experience coaching soccer but ultimately your experience is secondary to the experience of your players.

Happy, interested and challenged children will continue to play and improve which will make you and ultimately your country the big winners.


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