EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

What do I do when a player cries after a tackle?

QUESTION


A player left training crying after a hard tackle and stayed away for two weeks. How can I integrate him back into the team?

ANSWER


It’s unfortunate there was a two-week break, but getting the player back on the horse, so to speak, is really important, and this is a small incident that shouldn’t interrupt his enjoyment or future development.

I think it would be good for the player in question to know there are no hard feelings, which I certainly imagine is the case. Why not bring together the two players involved in the challenge so they can have some ‘clear the air’ talks, if necessary. You’ll need to oversee the chat, and ensure they shake hands at the end of it.

I always find humour is a good way to take the sting out of any awkward situation, so maybe make a reference to even the best soccer players in the world shedding a tear because of their art (Paul Gascoigne, Ronaldo and John Terry spring to mind, for starters).

What you mustn’t do is make a big deal out of it, so conclude their chat and press on with the training session without saying another word about it.

From time to time the kids we oversee will surprise us. They’ll do things which make them seem every bit the adult in waiting, yet at other times their actions remind us that they are minors, and sometimes need to be treated with kid gloves.

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