EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

I’m new to coaching and have a player in my team who constantly undermines what I say. The real problem is, he’s my captain! What can I do?

Ask Dave

Dave says

You don’t mention the age of children you are coaching, though my suspicion is you’re dealing with teenage kids here, many of whom feel they are cleverer than the coach!

Of course, any behaviour that undermines you needs to be stamped out, and there are some effective ways of doing this. But first you need to find out why this child is behaving like this.

I’m new to coaching and have a player in my team who constantly undermines what I say. The real problem is, he’s my captain! What can I do?

Stamp out activity that undermines you as coach

 

Usually it’s down to a lack of self-confidence, or a sense of being threatened by someone new coming into the team. With that in mind, my first attempt at getting this player to play ball is to take him to one side and use flattery. Tell him you’re relying on him as the team captain and empower him in the role rather than letting him feel that his on-pitch leadership could be under threat should another player grab your attention. Say you want him to be your eyes and ears and that you’re relying on him. I’m sure you’ll see a different type of character emerge.

If, however, the behaviour continues, console yourself with the probability that you’re not the only person in authority who struggles to deal with this child. Threatening to remove the captaincy may well have the desired effect, and if that doesn’t work, a quiet word with one of his parents is probably in order.

If the problem persists, you could take the drastic step of telling the player to sit out a game or two, but I doubt you’ll need to go that far down the line in trying to restore order. I rather suspect this lad needs an arm around the shoulder, rather than a kick up the backside!

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