EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

How do I motivate a losing team?

Ask Dave

Dave says

Body language and voice control

Your body language needs to mirror what you are saying. Spouting positive phrases in a monotone voice while scowling, motivates no one. It is essential to be upbeat and energetic when speaking to young players. Use your hands and facial expressions to accentuate important points. Children focus on these and it helps them engage with you as the speaker.

Accentuate the positives

Whatever happens in games there are always positives to be found. It is your job as coach to find them and remind your players of them. Think about the positives in all aspects of the game and repeat them to your players. Don’t say “You were unlucky” or blame the referee.

Rephrase and refresh

Think before you speak. Is what you are about to say positive or negative? If it is negative, is there a way to rephrase it positively? If not, then don’t say it.

I often hear coaches shouting: “Don’t miss your tackles” when their team is defending close to the goal. This immediately makes players think of the consequences of a missed tackle. The same statement rephrased could be “win the tackle”, which conjures up positive thoughts of tackling to get the ball.

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