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Coaching Soccer 101

New Coach FAQ's

I got my roster, now what ?
What will I need for first practice?
Why do I need a practice plan?
What should I practice?
Any tips for a good practice?
Is there a special practice form?
Should I have a parent meeting?
What do I need for Game Day?

I got my roster, now what?

Seems easy enough but just in case.

-Call Parents

-Introduce yourself and give them your phone #

-Tell them where and when practice will be.

-What players will need to bring to practice. Water bottle, shin guards, a soccer ball and what size. Cleats are preferred.

IMPORTANT- Have players bring their own soccer ball. It is tough to have a fun effective practice with 12 to 18 players and only a few soccer balls.  Another benefit is that you know that they will have one at home and can use it to practice with. Plus, it is easier on you if each player brings one ball so the coach doesn't have to bring 18 soccer balls to practice.  Soccer ball size requirements vary. Generally a size 3 for 5-7, size 4 for 8-11, size 5 for 12 and up but check with your league. Top

What will I need for my first practice?

-A practice plan or outline. We discuss this later.

-Some extra soccer balls.

-Some pinnies or alternate jerseys would be nice.

-Some practice cones. The flat ones are the best.

-Stop watch

-Whistle

-First aid kit

-Proper attire-you should wear clothing befitting a soccer coach. Top

Why do I need a Practice Plan?

-It’s the key to a smooth running practice

-You will look more professional. Fold it in half and tuck it in on the side at the waistband of my shorts for quick access to it.

-You won't be stumbling for ideas with 24 eyes looking at you.

-After practice , use it to write what worked good and what you would change.

-Keep them as records so you know what and when you practiced. Top


What should I be practicing?

Until you have a game or scrimmage it is hard to tell. So start off with the basics. Usually passing, dribbling or defending is a good place to start. Once you have a scrimmage or game, you will be able determine one or two items that will need the most work (passing, support or spreading out, etc.).

Next, create a practice plan for one of those items or themes. Usually dedicate the whole practice to that theme. In other words, do not spend 5 minutes on dribbling, 5 minutes on passing, 5 minutes on defense. Their skills in the area that they need the most will not change enough using that practice model. Instead, use progressions and focus your practice on one skill or theme.

For instance, if you saw passing as the skill the kids needed most work, start your practice with a warm up that uses passing to get the kids running. Next, work on their passing technique with no pressure (passing in pairs focusing on technique). Then add some pressure, whether it is passing for accuracy or maybe passing against the clock. Next add a defender in a small sided game. You can create games or drill that will insure some success. Example: “monkey in the middle”. 4 passers against 1 defender. Then progress to a 2v2 or a 3v3 small sided game. Using small sided games insures more touches on the soccer ball. And the game itself is easier to understand. Then, progress to a large sided game with goals. Last thing should be a warm down.

You can see how after this practice, their passing skills are bound to improve. Use the next game to identify another weak area and do it all over again. Top

What are some tips for planning a good practice?

-Keep players active at all times. Get to the field early and set everything up before hand !!!! Another reason to arrive early is to check the field conditions and make sure that it is safe to play on.

-Avoid the three L’s. Laps, lines, and lectures.

-Keep it FUN.

-Keep it simple, especially for young players. Don’t use fancy words or complicated drills.

Don’t be afraid to change things if something that isn’t working. Top

Is there a special Practice Plan form?

This one works for all age groups and abilities. Or use a simple index card. The most important thing is you have a plan. Top

Blank practice plan

Sample of a working practice plan

Should I have a parent meeting?

You should have a team meeting as soon as possible and definitely before the first game. Prepare a “handout” with everything clearly stated. Use the handout as your notes. Pass the handout at the end of the meeting.

Tell parents to make sure their spouses, if they are not there, know the team policies. Make sure they cheer for good defensive plays as well as offensive. The handout should include you and your assistant's name and phone numbers. You should also discuss team goals, parent conduct on the sideline and playing time.

If you are having the meeting at your practice field, make sure you are facing the players. This way, you can keep an on your players and the parents will focus on what your saying and not what their kids are doing. This is also effective when talking to your players.  Example of handout.

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What do I need to know for game day?

HAVE FUN. Both you and the players should have fun. Don’t get too worked up about it. Hopefully your goal isn’t winning.  As long as the kids try their hardest, they are good sports and most importantly, that they have fun then you did your job.

What should my game day strategy be?

HAVE FUN. Notice the theme here? If you are coaching younger kids, it will be beehive soccer. Don’t worry about it. The game is the best teacher. Eventually, with a little bit of help from you, they will figure it out. On offense, they will eventually figure out if they get open and get a pass they will have a clear look at the goal. And they will figure out on defense, that if the whole team goes after the soccer ball, no one will be covering the open second attacker on the other team. Top

Hopefully, this answered some of your questions. One of the great things about being a soccer coach is you can always learn something new. Below, you will find all the links to the state soccer associations. Sign up for a course. You will not regret it.
If you have any questions or comments ? Please do not hesitate to email us.

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