How often do you hear your players say “I can’t do that” or “I’m not good enough”? Probably the ones who don’t turn up to training. I’ve recently been asked by a parent for my advice on their child.
Apparently he was chosen for the school soccer team, but the sports teacher was unhappy because he didn’t try in training sessions. “He feels he’s much better than the others,” the parent told me, “and he feels he shouldn’t have to train with them.”
Go to practice!
So the school dropped him from the team. His mother asked me what I thought. Well, I cannot comment on what a school did but if you can’t be bothered to go to training sessions, you will pay in some way. For a child to realise their potential in anything they are doing, whether it is in the classroom or out on the pitch, they will have to put in many hours of practice… and if they don’t, someone who has no natural talent can easily surpass them.
My advice to the parents was to encourage him to do the training and to try other non-school teams to see if it was the coach and his methods that he found off-putting. But I made them understand that without training, his development would suffer.
Nowhere to train
I remember a couple of seasons ago one of the teams I was coaching could only get a practice pitch once a month. It was nowhere near enough time to coach anything useful. The team started the season well because I got the parents to bring them to an outdoor pitch I had use of.
But when the nights got dark and it was necessary to use a floodlit pitch, again the team had no where to train apart from the once a month training. They began to struggle during games and as the opposition advanced, they stood still. The parents and organisers of the team put their collective heads in the sand and refused to budge on the matter.
It was a season wasted. It is vital young players are given the opportunity to develop and, in the case of the boy at school, that the parents encourage them to go to training. This is one of the reasons I spend hours creating sessions that players find fun and make them want to come back to week after week.
The learning points of the sessions are brought about in many cases because the players are enjoying training and putting effort in. As a coach you need to make sure your sessions are not only getting across the coaching points you want to make but are enjoyable for your players so they want to come back next week.
When it comes to getting things done it is often the most vocal of dads who find it hardest to help out. Why is it that the ones that think they can tell you how the team should play and the tactics to use are the ones that do anything you ask them wrongly? MORE
One way to give your players something to do in this forced break from sport is to get them to pick a player and tell you in their own words why that player is so great. And see if they can name an instance where the player showed his skills that resulted in a goal. MORE
Watching one of the guys who works with the Soccer Coach Weekly team every morning as he parks his car got me thinking about coaching and how opportunity and practice are vital to any set of skills a person has. MORE
In these troubled times we need to make sure as coaches that we are sending out some information about what players can do when they are on their own with siblings and parents. Having two sons and a daughter I can set up mini games and set targets that they have to hit with the ball. Simple stuff. MORE