Coaching soccer, particularly at the youth level, can be a very fulfilling role. It requires strong communication skills and a real love for the game. When coaches can effectively communicate with their athletes, players work as a team and have fun doing so, which usually leads to better results in the long term.
Soccer Coaching Tips on Improving Communication
Focus on the Positives
When coaching youth soccer, it’s important to choose positive words that will build up your team. Dave Clark advises that “articulating the right idea in words can be one of the most important factors in the ongoing drive for success. There is always a need to be able to say the right thing at the right time. Focusing your comments on positive instruction will help you achieve this.” Instead of pointing out the negative, try to put a positive spin on your words.
As many soccer coaches say, positive words build a foundation for shaping positive attitudes. Phrases like “Today is our day” or “I will never give up on you” proves your sincerity in wanting your athletes to excel.
Evaluate In-Game Communication
Unlike other sports where there are timeouts or consistent breaks in action, soccer coaches only get half-time to make adjustments after kick off, making it difficult to get coaching points across to players. Due to the fast-paced nature of soccer matches, coaches often find themselves shouting hasty instructions or directions to their players. Although these directions may be effective in the moment, relying on directions from coaches during the game can end up hindering the development of the communication skills between team members. Examining what you say and how you say it during games is an important step for youth coaches.
Practice Communication in Every Training Session
It’s important for your players to practice communication with each other during practice so that they’re prepared and ready to communicate effectively when it matters: during games. Soccer Xpert has provided an excellent drill that incorporates a communication component, but remember that any drill you do should foster communication between athletes.
Give Meaningful Feedback During Evaluations
Having formal evaluations with your players will help boost your athlete’s confidence, keep them engaged in the sport, and give you a channel to communicate with them on things that they are excelling at and areas where they can improve. Here are some more tips on how to give effective player evaluations.
Create Channels of Communication
It’s important for coaches to create opportunities to communicate with their players in several ways, including as a team and individually. Another great communication channel to incorporate with your in person training is video analysis, which allows your players to see their performance from a new perspective. This communication channel is great for giving feedback and evaluating your athlete’s performance in games.