Young players can take instructions like 'make the pitch big' and 'check your shoulders' very literally - so take a different approach, says HANNAH DUNCAN MORE
The night before the big game
There are lots of leagues coming to a conclusion in stadiums without any players, but the pressure is still there to win that final game and win a league or stay in a league. The consequences of some games are huge for clubs around the world. Never fear because Arsenal Ladies legend Kelly Smith who has played both in England and in America has revealed her secrets for the big occasion – of which she has had many.
Smith has won the Uefa Women’s Cup, FA Cup, Premier League Cup and been a runner up with England in the Uefa Women’s Championship so she has spent many a night before a big game preparing for it.
It is interesting to read that she jots down the key points that she needs to concentrate on when playing the game – a kind of reminder that it is important to have a focus that takes the pressure off.
These were the key points she wrote down:
- I will keep the ball and play others into play
- I will be confident and play what I see
- I will smile express myself and enjoy
- I will give everything.
Four fantastic tips for any youth coach to give their players to focus little minds on the game ahead.
What comes immediately to my mind is that Kelly, even at this stage in her career, is looking to help her teammates by playing as a team, to try her best and to have fun. It is, after all, what we would all like to take out of a game.
We have a duty as coaches to try and create a culture at our clubs where the emphasis is on helping our teammates by passing and supporting them during play and to give them the environment where they can have fun.
One of the main ways we can get our players to want to learn is to give them the thirst for knowledge of the game – which means they are enjoying playing the game and have a great desire to play even better.
If they approach training sessions with this thirst for knowledge they are going to be keen to understand the session and be keen to develop through their own means rather than having to rely on you to explain it all to them.
Kind of like how children explore and learn through playing rather than by sitting in a history lesson and being made to learn.