“I was left to coach Under 14s by myself. My session worked but it was ruined by disruptive players. How can I ensure this doesn’t happen again?”
Handling that many 13-year olds is not easy and I have been in your situation many times. I’m sure you handled the problem well but at the end of the session you were left feeling like it hadn’t worked because of the way you dealt with the disruptive players.
However, every coach has experienced a bad session when they are left feeling like they were to blame for activities going out of their control. I have even seen Premier League coaches who, when faced with too many youth players, were not able to cope on their own, so you are not alone in experiencing this kind of behaviour – it even happens to the best.
What you need to do is show your players that you want them to concentrate on playing rather than messing around, and in the long run this will work in your favour.
Taking a training session for 19 boisterous teenagers can be tricky and the activity you ran was obviously good because, except for a few disruptive players, it worked on the night.
What you need to do is make your players understand that working hard at training and acting responsibly is the right attitude for the team and for the club – and most importantly, that poor behaviour means they will not get to play in the next match.
I think it was unfair that you were left without any assistance and it was a brave decision not to cancel training, just so the players could still enjoy their weekly session. You should congratulate yourself for that.
Try this Goalie Attacks session when you have more or less numbers at training – you can make the game bigger or smaller by shrinking the area or using a bigger pitch.