Every soccer (football) team – no matter how good – will at some stage go through a losing streak and, as the coach, it's your job to keep players motivated, prevent demoralisation setting in and help the team cope with defeat constructively.
Losing a series of games can have a far-reaching impact on youngsters' attitudes and performance in both training and subsequent matches. In youth games, losing often means heads drop, more goals are let in and your young players' self-belief and confidence flies out the window.
What happens then is that players are less likely to turn up for your soccer training sessions or turn up with a less than positive attitude towards training.
Tips to help players cope with defeat
As a soccer (football) coach there are various ways you can turn attitudes around when your team has been losing. You need to work hard to boost morale and help the players through periods when they lose and give them a reason to keep working at their skills and drills. It's a question of attitude for you and your players.
When the team loses, think carefully about your praise/criticism ratio and concentrate on:
- PRAISING individuals who have played well despite the team losing.
- PRAISING particular occasions in games when a player has done something good.
- PRAISING players who have tried to continue playing well despite being a lot of goals behind.
- PRAISING the individuals who try and encourage the rest of the team to step up a gear even though they are losing.
The other discussion to have with your young players is about how they have the ability to put everything right the next week. Get them thinking constructively about how they played in the latest match and what they need to do to put any mistakes right in the next match. Give them a long-term aim to go for and put their 'few defeats' in the context of the bigger picture.
Finally explain, in a diplomatic way, what went wrong in the game and how with hard work in soccer training and teamwork they can put it right.
Key soccer coaching tip
Remember this is a sport where you can often learn more when you lose than when you win…
For more soccer (football) coaching tips and advice on helping motivate young players, click here.