5 Ways to Make Youth Soccer Fun
When it comes to coaching youth soccer, there really needs to be just one major concern taken care of: the game must be fun for the players! It doesn’t matter whether they win or lose. Sure, you still want to teach the team in the best manner possible and help them develop into potential key players at the higher level, but you really need to ensure that everyone is having a good time in the game, or else they’ll walk away and never again play the sport! So with that in mind, here are 5 ways in which you can make the sport of soccer fun for your team:
1. Keep a positive energy – This is the single most important thing. Don’t get down on the players when the mess up, because as inevitably happens throughout any youth soccer match, mistakes will be made! If you start yelling at players or making a fuss over a missed pass or shot, the game has lost all its elements of fun. Players will be afraid, nervous, and will fail to live up to your ridiculous expectations. Relax, put a smile on your face, and simply heap praise upon the kids when they do things correctly!
2. Make practice an enjoyable experience – soccer practice doesn’t have to be about endless conditioning and boring drills. Make it a cool and fun experience! Small-sided games are a great way to give players a competitive feel of the game and simply enjoy playing soccer. Having games with a goal in mind and having players work together will make practice fun. Also, don’t shy away from shooting drills and other entertaining drills that get players in front of goal!
3. Have a fun off-the-field experience – Maybe take the kids out for ice cream, or set up a barbeque or party day to get the players off the field and socializing. When it’s all work and no play, no one has fun, and the team will suffer. Another great idea is to get the players over to a high school or college game so they can watch people play at the higher levels. Helping the players learn and see what soccer is all about will bring the team together, inspire the players, and simply make a fun memory!
4. Get in the action – One thing about fun is that you, the coach, need to be enjoying the game as well! Instead of standing morosely on the sidelines, remembering the glory days of your former soccer career, get on the field and play with the kids. Obviously you will need to hold back and refrain from playing too dominant on a group of little kids, but you’ll certainly enjoy the experience of playing, and this will spread out to the team, making everyone a happy, fun group.
5. Treat everyone equally and fairly – Frustration often mounts within a soccer team when certain players get preferential treatment over others. Make sure that everyone on your team is an equal, even your son or daughter. This can be especially problematic when it comes to issues of playing time. Give everyone a fair shot, make them feel like part of a real “team”, and all the players will start having a lot more fun!