The importance of training

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.

Fun Sessions

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.

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