EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Ask Dave

Got a coaching question?

Dave Clarke, Soccer Coach Weekly’s head coach and editor can help.

As a volunteer dad, Dave started coaching his son’s team 20 years ago. Now educating 500,000 coaches every week he is a highly experienced FA level 3, UEFA B youth coach, lecturer and course tutor.

He has been at the helm of Soccer Coach Weekly for over 10 years and is also the Consultant Coach on the LMA’s Elite Soccer.

It’s always good to have somebody to ask for advice when you encounter a problem with your team. Whatever your coaching problem, Dave is perfectly placed to help.

Ask Dave

Check out recently asked questions to get the advice you need. If you are a subscriber drop Dave a line and he’ll even send you the resources you need from our library of coaching sessions.

How Do I Coach Speed feature

How do I coach speed?

in Ask Dave, Team Management

“How do I coach speed? Can it even be coached or is it something that is preset in a player?” Answer Speed can definitely be coached, but if a player is only ever trained for endurance, that speed will not increase. He may be able to run for longer, but the basic speed will remain... MORE

How Do I Get My Players To Make The Right Decisions.

How Do I Get My Players To Make The...

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question: I coach a team of Under 10s – a few of them are very comfortable with the ball at their feet and love to dribble. They are now getting to the stage where they are acknowledging that sometimes passing as opposed to dribbling may be better for the team but are finding the decision making process difficult. I.e. when is... MORE

What's it like to be coached by you

What’s it like to be coached by you?

in Ask Dave, Team Management

As a coach I know I have a lot of responsibilities, so how I coach and how I get my points across are vital to the progression of my players. It is not just about progression on the pitch either – my coaching should also help them learn how to achieve their life goals away... MORE

Should I give up coaching?

Should I give up coaching?

in Ask Dave, Team Management

“The constant criticism from the parents of the players on my team is hitting my confidence and making me think I should give up coaching. Can you help?” – Under 10s Boys Coach Answer I think all of us have a dark side that turns us into critics. Some people can be more critical than... MORE

The kids don't understand my sessions

The kids don’t understand my sessions…

in Ask Dave

“I’m struggling with getting kids to understand the sessions I run – it’s embarrassing in front of their parents. Is there a secret to getting the information across?” – Under 10s Boys Coach Answer Player understanding is one of the key elements of a coaching session – and of course coach understanding. It’s the chicken... MORE

question and answer with Tony Mowbray

Question and Answer with Tony Mowbray

in Ask Dave

In my capacity as consultant for Elite Soccer I get access to the sessions that the top managers put together for each issue and I thought I’d share this great question and answer feature. Question “I realise the value of getting crosses into the box, but our moves down the flanks are mostly random. How... MORE

What should my players eat

What Should My Players Eat Before a Match?

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question “My players are always starving in the morning before a match and often the bacon buttie hut is open and smelling wonderful – but what should they eat that doesn’t stop them playing well?” Answer I always try to put a few pieces of fruit in my coaching bag when I set out for... MORE

U7s coaching difficulty

I didn’t realise coaching U7s would be so difficult

in Ask Dave, Team Management

“I’ve played for a team for the last 23 years and have now started coaching a team of Under 7s. I didn’t realise the challenge of coaching such young players! I’ve only been coaching them for 3 weeks and they have already improved in leaps and bounds. They couldn’t even run sideways without falling over... MORE

My team has lost their drive

My team has lost desire and passion

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question “My team seem to have lost their desire and passion. They are second to every ball, they don’t press quickly, they lack confidence on the ball and I am not sure what to do.” – U12 coach, FA level 1 Answer This often comes from a general feeling that the team is not doing... MORE

u10s development

Advice on developing your U10s

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question “What are the developmental steps for training technical aspects of soccer, like dribbling or passing and receiving to a group of Under 10s?” Answer Coaches have to initially understand the Principles of Play for attacking and defending and base their coaching around them. At U10s i would be looking at a season-long curriculum based... MORE

What to do when a referee is rude?

What to do when a referee is rude to...

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question How can I expect my players to respect the referee when his mannerisms towards them clearly show that he does not respect them? Answer Respect is definitely a two-way street and I’d be interested to know exactly what it is the referee is doing to make the players feel this way. It’s a fair... MORE

AskDave self conscious players

What should I do with self conscious players?

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question One of my players is quite early into puberty and refuses to change with his team-mates. What should I do? Answer Quite simply, go along with the child’s wishes. He will be self conscious enough as it is at the moment given how his body is changing, so to force him to change with... MORE

Ask Dave - team play featured image

What to do when you have players of different...

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question My Under-8s side has players at very different skill levels. Some criticise others when things aren’t going well – how can I make them appreciate that it’s a team game and they’re all as important as one another? Answer Make sure you don’t single out individuals for praise at the end of a match.... MORE

Ask Dave - Low numbers at training featured image

Why do I have low numbers at training?

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question “Only four turned up to training again tonight. That’s three weeks in a row. What’s the point in me giving up my valuable time?” Answer 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.... MORE

AskDave reading opposition featured image

How to read the opposition

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question What’s the best way to improve one’s ability to quickly read the opposing team? Answer There are a couple of ways you can improve on reading the opposition. The main one being see how they line up at kick off, work out what formation they are playing and that will give you a good... MORE

AskDave Paul and Tom Ince featured image

Coaching my son’s team…

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question I understand you coach your sons’ teams… I am now coaching my own child… what advice would you give? Answer There are a number of things you need to do to try and find the right balance when coaching your son’s team… Don’t favour them Don’t build your team around your child. You might... MORE

Soccer Surgery - Half Time Snacks Featured Image

The half-time food and drink dilemma – what to...

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Question What half-time drinks and snacks are best for my players on match day? Answer by Stuart Galise, a Chartered Physiotherapist and Nutritionist with clinics in Bath and Bristol The days when a couple of slices of orange were considered the optimum half-time treat are well in the past now and have been for quite some time. Times have changed and we now... MORE

Soccer Surgery - First Session Featured Image

How to make a success of that first soccer...

in Ask Dave

Question I am set to take my first soccer coaching session soon. What key bits of advice can you offer to help me make it a big success? Answer by Nick Judd, youth soccer coach at Finchampstead FC The main piece of advice I would offer is not to rush into anything. Youth soccer is... MORE

Do you let the disruptive player join your team? - Balotelli featured picture

Do You Let A Problem Player Join The Team?

in Ask Dave, Team Management

This week’s debate: The father of a well-known local ‘problem player’ asks if his son can join your team. Do you exercise your moral right as a coach to say that he can’t join or do you give him a chance? Yes – Chris Beech London Shoreditch Youth – “Every player deserves a chance. If every coach turned his back on this player,... MORE

Ask Dave number 1 from SCW issue 474

What to do when your players are of vastly...

in Ask Dave, Team Management

Answer: You should split the players into ability groups but play the same session just make it easier for the ones who are not so well developed – bigger area to play in, slower game etc. Watch how they develop over the season. You may be surprised at how much they have grown or have... MORE

How the hell do I coach a 3 year...

in Ask Dave

The question: I’m a coach of three to four year olds and yesterday was my first ever practice. I was so nervous that I let the session over-run and I forgot the warm-up. Could you tell me what a typical lesson at this level of soccer looks like because I really don’t have a clue!... MORE

How to deal with difficult parents

in Ask Dave

Hello Steve, I coach an U10 team. I have a parent of a player that is being very unreasonable! This parent has made it a nightmare to find a time for practice, once even stating that “she would not allow her child practice on Sundays” when the other parents had no problem with it. Another... MORE


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