How Can a Soccer Coach Inspire Their Players?

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Be a fun coach that the players love! – (Photo: News.nationalpost.com)

Leading a young group of soccer players is no easy feat.  With hundreds of distractions for their attention, many kids simply don’t care about giving effort on the field and couldn’t care less about winning and developing their soccer skills.  Such a team can be an extremely frustrating experience for the coach and won’t benefit anyone involved.  But in large part, the responsibility of getting kids excited in soccer falls upon the coach’s shoulders.  How can a youth soccer coach inspire their team to play soccer with passion and enjoyment?

It all starts with the attitude that a coach brings to the team at practices.  You need to be excited to be working with the team.  There’s no time to be tired or bored as you go through the drills.  That lame vibe will easily filter down to the kids.  Instead, become the team’s cheerleader.  Heap praise on someone for putting in a good, strong effort.  Make the drills fun and competitive.  Don’t let any mistakes get you down.  Just make the kids have a fun time at practice.  Similar feelings will then pervade around the games themselves.

Another thing to consider is to have a generally light-hearted approach to the games.  Don’t put too much of an emphasis on winning and getting results.  Simply relax and let whatever happens unfold.  Remember, you aren’t managing a team at the 2014 World Cup here!  It’s just youth soccer and fun should be the primary goal.  If you can relax, so will your team, and the players will all enjoy themselves much more!  They’ll probably play better too!

A hard thing for soccer coaches is to invigorate the team when they go through a losing spell.  Let’s face it, as little importance as you place on winning, it still stinks to get beat week in and week out.  During such troubling times, keep to your laurels and don’t let frustrations get to you.  The last thing a good coach does is get angry at their players.  Remember, they’re just little kids!

Another way to inspire your players is to encourage them to watch the game being played at the higher level.  I remember the excitement of being brought to a high school game with my U-11 team and seeing just how fast and strong the players were.  I was amazed at how far the older players could kick the ball and the whole experience was very inspirational!  Check your local area out for high school, college, or even professional soccer games.  Also, try to get the players to watch the English Premier League, the MLS, or the World Cup on TV.  Watching the highest levels of players compete can inspire everyone!

But above all, remember that inspiring young soccer players comes from the positive attitude that your bring to the team.  Make them all believe that they can become professional soccer players if they continue to strive and want it.  Never let the kids give up hope on their dreams, and be the coach that believes in them.  Everyone needs someone pushing them to be their best, and you can definitely inspire your soccer team with a bit of positive support!


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