An extract from Peter Prickett's latest book Soccer's Principles of Play. In this part of the book Peter explores positive and negative transition and counter attacking and counter pressing as principles of play MORE
10 top tips – How to be the best coach
CLAUDIO RANIERI on winning the Premier League: “There are so many keys to this. Humility, the strength of the dressing room, they help each other at important moments, they play with the heart, the soul, they play 11. There was a good blend. I told them, “I love the English spirit”, because when I was a player I was an Englishman.”
A good coach should always be in control. With some players it’s easy, with others it’s more challenging. If you want players to have time messing around, that’s fine, but it should be on your say-so and on your terms.
02 MENTAL STRENGTH
No matter how successful you are you will always have your critics. Sometimes it can be useful, so be strong enough to take criticism on board and use it if it’s of value. If it’s not, don’t take negative comments to heart and believe in yourself.
03 SENSE OF HUMOUR
Playing soccer should be fun. While having control is crucial, it’s also important to be able to have a laugh with your players. A little bit of banter helps to bond a team as long as it doesn’t go too far.
Having a plan is always good whether it’s for a training session or a match but sometimes drills don’t go well or tactics don’t work. Have a back up in mind should things go wrong and don’t be afraid to admit mistakes.
Each child is different and players develop at a different pace. Coaching youth soccer requires patience, because it takes time and effort to help players fulfil their potential – but the rewards will be worth it when a team comes together.
06 COMMUNICATION ABILITY
The ability to get your message across to players is vital. There are many ways of doing this but the key, particularly with kids, is not to go on too long. Get the message across quickly and succinctly and repeat it at regular intervals until you’re sure it’s hit home.
Don’t put a wall up between yourself and your players. They have to feel they can talk to you about problems. It might be a football issue, but equally you might be the person they turn to if they are struggling with issues in the wider world.
08 RESPECT FOR RULES
Remind yourself, your players and their parents of your league’s code of conduct on a regular basis – this is vital when it comes to match day. It’s your reputation on the line, so make sure everyone knows what’s expected.
09 GOOD OBSERVATION SKILLS
Watch what happens during training closely. Players develop different strengths as they grow – you might spot something that means your left back is developing into a left winger. Watch what happens off field too, so you can nip any problems in the bud.
10 MEMORY FOR DETAIL
Gradually build up a mental picture of each member of your squad. Their skills will be apparent quickly but just as important is tapping into their personality. Knowing them will make them easier to manage.