Touchline Tales is a season-long series of Soccer Coach Weekly Podcasts with Go4Goal and Leatherhead Youth FC. In Episode 1 Dave Clarke talks to Go4Goal's Andy Maciel and Paul Jones about coaching in the lockdown and what to do going forward MORE
10 Top Tips – How To Win A Tournament
Tournaments are great fun so you don’t want to be the first to pack your kit away and head home. Here are Dave Clarke’s 10 tips to help your team have a successful experience.
- CHECK YOUR TEAM’S PLAYER AVAILABILITY
Tournaments usually take place at weekends and during school holidays, so check your players will be available. TOP TIP: Many tournaments allow teams to field guest players, so check the rules if you need to add players.
- CHOOSE THE LEVEL OF PLAY
The level of play is crucial to how successful your team is going to be. TOP TIP: Call coaches you know who have competed in the tournament to ask their opinion.
- OUTLINE THE TRAVEL OPTIONS
When choosing tournaments, parents will need to know the transportation options that are available. TOP TIP: Do your research on travel and the best means of getting to the destination.
- GET READY THE NIGHT BEFORE
Put together a checklist to give to the parents of all of your players. Include directions and maps showing how to get to the tournament, plus a list of things that players need to bring. TOP TIP: Make yourself a list of mobile phone contact numbers for everyone connected with the team – just in case.
- PREPARE FOR THE WEATHER CONDITIONS
It is vital that you prepare your team for the weather conditions on the weekend of the tournament. TOP TIP: Keep an eye on the weather forecast for the area hosting the tournament and inform parents.
- CHOOSE TACTICS FOR THE SURFACE
Find out in advance what kind of surface the matches will be played on. Is it grass or on a synthetic turf? TOP TIP: Make sure you prepare tactics for the type of surface your teams is playing on.
- SPREAD THE LOAD
Most tournaments guarantee a minimum of three or four games, but the most successful teams will often play more as they go through the rounds and get to the final. TOP TIP: If you spread the load equally among the entire team your chances of success will be greatly enhanced.
- GO ON THE ATTACK STRAIGHT AWAY
Going straight on the attack in tournament games is vital to get on top, both physically and psychologically. TOP TIP: Use one of your best kickers for a shot – or kick for touch in the opponents’ half and press high.
- PREPARE FOR THE GAP BETWEEN GAMES
There is always a lot of down time at tournaments and you should be prepared for it. TOP TIP: Ensure your players snack every two or three hours – energy bars or bananas are perfect. They should also drink water regularly.
- USE SUBSTITUTES TO WIN GAMES
Most tournaments have a roll-on, roll-off style substitute policy – so make sure you use it to your advantage. TOP TIP: Make a list of your subs and ensure you use all of them by switching players at regular intervals.