Help – My Players Don’t Listen!

Answers to common questions faced by grassroots coaches the world over, like...why don't my players listen!
Dave Clarke

A problem shared is a problem halved. Whoever said coaching is easy isn’t telling the whole story and coaches often face problems that need a little extra help to resolve.

This book contains the most commonly asked questions by readers of Soccer Coach Weekly weekly digital magazine with answers from Dave Clarke, the editor.  Help – My Players Don’t Listen! has collected real questions from real coaches about management, coaching the game and tactics, psychology and parents, and offers suggestions for dealing with them.

Do you recognise any of these?

How do I get my team to pass more? Should better players move up an age group? I’m terrified of refereeing – what do I do? What activities can encourage players to play new positions? How do I motivate a losing team? How can I iron out technical errors? The full list of 47 problems is in the Description tab below.

If you are finding coaching is not quite what you expected and unexpected issues are arising this could be the antidote!

Option Name Ebook Printed Book Ebook + Print
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This book can help you with advice to address a variety of problems.

Help – My Players Don’t Listen! focuses on 5 areas coaches find always find challenging:

  • Management: controlling players, organising sessions, one to one player management
  • Coaching: finding the right session, improving player ability, training to match day transition
  • Psychology: individual and team motivation, learning to lose, developing a good sporting attitude
  • Parents: dealing with frustrated parents, encouraging parents to take an interest, tips on becoming a successful coaching parent
  • Tactics: reading opposition tactics, am I using the right tactics? How can I come up with fresh ideas to introduce to the team?

Move straight to the advice you need, to help you combat the coaching problems you face.


Help – my players don’t listen!

How should I prepare for the start of the new season?

How do I start my own soccer team?

I’m terrified at the prospect of refereeing

How can I manage loads of players turning up to a trials day?

Should better players move up an age group?

What activities can encourage players to play new positions?

Can you help me plan a stress-free end of season awards?

We play 9v9 this year. How should I set up?


When is it best to pass and when is it best to dribble?

I can’t get my players to understand overlapping passing

How do I get my team to pass more?

What technique can I use to coach spatial awareness?

How do I coach players of different abilities?

My players struggle with fast passing under pressure

Which parts of the foot are used in creative play?

My defence falls apart at set pieces. What can I do?

How can my girls cope with the physical side of the game?

How can I start my professional coaching career?

My U9 defenders are totally disorganised. My attackers can’t receive…

I’m struggling to get my strikers to be creative with their runs

How can I turn great, entertaining play into winning games?

My team starts slowly – is it nerves?


I keep getting wound up by opposition managers and linesmen

How do I motivate a losing team?

I have 18 players in a new team. Any simple tips to help me remember their names2

My players often give up when they face teams they think are better than them.

How do I get them to always do their best?

What drills can make my girls play with more aggression?

How can I stop my team being sore losers?

All my players want to do is gossip and play matches

How do I prevent players from playing down to their opponents’ level?

I need a way to iron out technical errors

How can I get my team to compete in matches like they do in training?

I want to give my team a better chance to win a tournament

We keep playing teams that cheat and it’s really frustrating


What advice would you give a parent coaching his child’s team?

The manager only gives the subs 10-15 minutes – is this acceptable?

I’m worried the parents will try to take over the team

Where should parents stand during matches?

Help, I have too many volunteers!

How can I encourage parents to take an interest in ALL the children, not just their own


How can I learn to read the opposition better?

How much time should I spend talking tactics?

How should my players react to teams that play back to the goalkeeper?

What are the most influential positions in 7v7?

My players run out of position and can’t get back when they lose the ball –

what can I do to stop this?

How do I coach players at different levels of development?

You can buy Help – My Players Don’t Listen! in two formats:

ebook – store on your computer. You can simply print out the session you need to use on the day. You can also copy or print as many copies as you like for distribution to your players and colleagues in your club.

Perfect bound printed book – a professional appearance. You are able to stack and display effectively and it is practical when you need to find a session quickly.

Both formats – get the best of both and SAVE money. Combine the benefits of immediate ebook delivery and the ease of printing individual drills with the practicality and durability of the colour printed version.


Ebook, Printed Book, Ebook + Print


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Dave Clarke is the former head coach and editor of Soccer Coach Weekly.

As well as being a skilled journalist and editor, Dave has excellent coaching credentials, having coached U9s – U16s at grassroots level for over 20 years.

He holds a UEFA B license and is qualified in FA Youth Award modules 1, 2 and 3, as well as the Coerver Youth Diploma Module.

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