Tips on How to Be the Best Youth Soccer Coach

04/21/2015 02:48 pm ET | Updated Jun 21, 2015

What are tips to help a soccer novice coach a kid's soccer team well?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


Answer by Jim Gordon, ex-ref instructor, ex-coach, Div 3 pro team manager, local and US state association board member, youth player and fan. Taught refs in three countries, reffed in two, got involved with refereeing in a couple more.


Organize your practices (Every player should have a ball, marked with the player's name, and be responsible for bringing it to practice. Coach brings the pump).

  1. Warmups with the ball, using skills taught in prior practices.
  2. Lesson of the day: Coach or demonstrator shows how to do the technique properly, then players do it, first as a drill. Examples of techniques for little players: Juggle one touch and catch; Repeat (Over time, players can increase the touches, switch the foot, use multiple surfaces.). Kicking the ball, passing the ball, trapping the ball. Dribbling the ball. Throw-ins. After players master some techniques, add a lesson on putting techniques into play sequences involving another player.
  3. Game situation. Divide the team... best way is to pick two captains of equal level and let them pick. Different captains every practice. This promotes players' critical observation of teammates. Apply the day's lesson and prior lessons. Interrupt as seldom as possible, as briefly as possible. Teach only a little bit of rules at any practice.
  4. End on time, with a few minutes' physical exercise. NO stretching for little kids who are made of rubber.

Some tips:

  • Teach the object of the game and teach how the techniques (skills) fit.
  • Teach behaviors and actions in situations, not attitudes.
  • Coach's job is to teach in practices and observe QUIETLY in games, learning what you taught badly and what the team needs in the next practice. If you have subs on the side of the field, have them watch for good plays and for things that need improvement and point them out to you. Use your clipboard and take notes.
  • Measure every player's performance against his/her own abilities.
  • Players controlled like puppets on strings will play lousy soccer. If you're yelling instructions, you're interfering in the game, and the opponents, who also hear you, will be way ahead of your players.
  • Give information to on-field players that they can't see/learn for themselves, not instructions.
  • Watch for good performance on the field and give positive reinforcement as soon as the ball has moved onward.
  • Nobody (coach or parents) uses imperative verbs to tell players what to do. Can you concentrate and perform a complex task while somebody important is yelling at you how and when to do it?
  • Save the corrections and improvements for practice.

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