Part of a young player’s soccer development is the crucial way you deal with technical errors your players make. It is often easier to turn a blind eye so you don’t have to say anything to the child, but it will help them more if you talk to them about how they will be a much better player if they follow your advice – after all you are the coach!
A good coach will eliminate technical errors in players to help them improve. Use our six-step guide to help correct the technique of your players in the right way.
1 SPOT THE PROBLEM
Watch your players closely to see what kind of errors they make. If the errors occur consistently in both training and matches, then these are ‘technical’ errors and could be correctable. These are fixed by working on a specific part of the player’s technique. If the errors that you spot occur during matches only, then they are ‘performance’ errors and less of a problem.
2 GATHER EVIDENCE
While observing a player, gather as much evidence as you can to help you work out how serious the problem is and how it can be fixed. Statistics on how often the error occurs and video footage are both valuable tools if you are able to get them. A lot of players will be unaware that they are making recurring errors, so evidence is essential to convince them.
3 OFFER SOLUTIONS
To persuade a player that he has a flaw in his game, you will need to provide him with a solution to his problem rather than just simply point out a series of faults. You should think carefully about what you are going to say before speaking to the player – and when you tackle the issue, have a clear idea about how you are going to help him overcome his technical problems.
4 GIVE HIM FEEDBACK
When you’ve worked out what needs to be done, make sure you give the player feedback in the right circumstances. Wait until the player does something you can praise and then use this as an opportunity to address the problem that you want to raise. Be positive and make the player aware that you have the solutions for him and are determined to help him improve.
5 TAKE ACTION
Once you’ve explained the problem to your player and made him understand the need for corrective action, make sure you demonstrate different ways to help eradicate the flaw in his game. Spend time with the player at training while he practices his technique and try to put him in situations that will give him plenty of opportunity to test out your solutions.
6 SUPPORT THE PLAYER
Don’t just identify the problem and then let players get on with his game. Make sure you offer support and give regular feedback on how the player is progressing. Be aware that correcting ingrained errors doesn’t happen quickly and in many cases the skill can get worse before it gets better. Players can become very despondent if they feel they are not being supported.