Ask Dave

It infuriates me when players turn up with dirty boots and kit that hasn’t been cleaned. Am I getting wound up about nothing?

It infuriates me when players turn up with dirty...

in Ask Dave

I know where you’re coming from with this problem. A clean kit means clean minds and denotes the respect players should have for themselves and their sport. But other coaches will say youth soccer is about players enjoying themselves first and foremost, and everything else is secondary. MORE

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

The manager is only giving the subs 10-15 minutes...

in Ask Dave

I help coach an Under-12s team playing 9v9 (One manager, 2 coaches) We have a squad of 13 players. The manager wants to involve all the players in the games and I agree with him. However another coach believes that they should only get a couple of minutes at the end. MORE

Only four turned up to training again tonight. That’s...

in Ask Dave

You need to find out why this is happening because it could be something simple that is easily put right, such as: The players are not enjoying the training. The team is on a losing steak and the players’ motivation is affected by this. A poor run of weather, where overhead and underfoot it’s been so bad any quality work has been diluted and thus the players lose interest. MORE

What’s the best way for grassroots youth coaches to...

in Ask Dave

There are a couple of ways that any coach can improve on reading the opposition. The main one being to see how they line up at kick-off and work out what formation they are playing, because that will give you a good idea of the way they are going to approach the game. MORE

I am coach of an Under-13 girls team and...

in Ask Dave

First of all, we wish your player a speedy recovery – breaking a leg at such a young age is extremely unfortunate. In terms of what happens now, I’m sure you’ll quickly find a replacement given the popularity of the girls’ game in the US. But in the meantime, why not try to turn this into a positive for your other players? MORE

There are 18 players in my new team. What...

in Ask Dave

Well this is one we’ve all come across in the past. Indeed, many people will struggle to remember the name of a person they’ve just been introduced to, and that’s because our brains are too occupied with presenting ourselves in a likeable way that we therefore switch off from importing information as we normally would. MORE

I understand you coach your sons’ teams ... I am now coaching my own child ... what advice would you give?

I understand you coach your sons’ teams … I...

in Ask Dave

Don’t build your team around your child. You might truly believe they are among the more talented and intelligent members of the team but resist the temptation to make them the main striker, captain, penalty-taker and free-kick specialist all rolled into one. MORE

How can I stop getting wound up by comments against my team from the opposition manager and linesman?

How can I stop getting wound up by comments...

in Ask Dave

Tactical understanding and implementation? People skills? Whatever you put at the top of the list you can guarantee that the skill you pick is governed by the front part your brain – the intelligent brain. What we know in science is that your front brain will tend to switch off in times of extreme stress and emotion. MORE

A player wants to go on a diet but...

in Ask Dave

I wouldn’t encourage any child to diet, because there are better methods. The first is obvious – do more exercise. And given this child plays soccer, he’s in the right place to arrange a programme of additional exercise. MORE

What formation would be best to use for very technical and ambitious players?

What formation would be best to use for very...

in Ask Dave

Playing a 4-4-2 diamond presents a really flexible set-up that ticks all the boxes. Wing-backs can push forward to assist the two strikers and become engaged in wide midfield situations, meaning centre-backs have the added responsibility of moving across to cover. MORE

How long should my small-sided game take at the...

in Ask Dave

There’s no set answer to how long a small-sided game should be. It depends on the number of players you have – a 4v4 game isn’t going to last much more than 10 minutes and, for most coaches, it’s the period of time left between the last drill and when parents turn up to take their kids home! MORE

6 tips for sharp shooting

We run shooting drills but our strikers still can’t...

in Ask Dave

Your players need more repetition of the goalscoring technique – I know that isn’t easy because your players will say they are bored after so many times running through the same drill, but if you play some fun sessions that have shooting as the main focus, you will get a lot of repetition without players noticing. MORE

Jose Mourinho and Willian

The soccer is ugly and it hurts to watch....

in Ask Dave, Team Management

QUESTION Watching my team play is a different story from one game to the next – we have a very successful and strong GK and defense. Our forward line is also very athletic and successful. My question is about our midfield… specifically the centre midfield. They are not the athletes the rest of the team... MORE

My players dont talk to each other featured

My players don’t talk to each other

in Ask Dave, Team Management

“How can I get my players to communicate better with each other on the pitch? They are so quiet during matches that it really costs us…” Answer Communication is key for any team setup, but there are some very good reasons that kids will often stay quiet during matches. Sometimes they feel embarrassed at speaking... MORE

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