How To Gain the Respect of Your Youth Soccer Team

A fun soccer team begins with a fun coach! - (Photo: Blog.zenergo.com)

Little kids are quite fickle.  Especially around the ages of 8-12, when most young soccer players start to play the game, they get to that age when trouble ensues.  No longer little kids, these youths begin to ignore authority, make mischief, and can often become quite the nuisance!  For an inexperienced soccer coach, managing a team of 15 rambunctious children can be a major challenge, especially if you try to adopt the “tough” coach role.  Here are some tips to make sure that your soccer team will have the most favorable experiences with you as the coach and to gain the team’s respect.

Make sure that you are relaxed and easy going.  The entire feel of the soccer team will start from you and flow through the players.  Therefore, the attitude that you portray from the start will flow down through to the players on the field.  If you are mean, then guess what?  Your players will be mean too.  Therefore, make sure that everyone has a good time starting with yourself!

This doesn’t mean that you let the players walk all over you though.  Be confident in your position of authority and don’t be afraid to use it when necessary.  Also, realize that the less often that you become stern with your players, the more effective it will be when you do show some emotion.  Use these moments wisely though.  Yelling at you players after the game will do little to motivate them; it will just rub salt into open wounds.  However, trying to instill some energy and passion into your players at halftime or before a game could have exactly the motivational impact that they need.

Another important factor in creating a respectful atmosphere around your team is to show your players respect.  Although they are little and young, children are human beings and deserve the same respect as adults.  By the age that someone begins to play soccer, they are smart enough to know when they are being disrespected, and they hold grudges like no others…  Don’t demean your team!  Inspire them to play with pride and have fun while they are doing it.

Youth soccer should be fun.  This is why parents and their children choose to join soccer leagues.  Not only is it a great place to make friends, but the memories and experiences of playing the game will last a lifetime.  How do you want your players to look back on the year?  Think back to your own youth soccer days.  What experiences made you love the game?  What fun events or practice drills did you find to be the most enjoyable?  Use your positive memories to create happy times for these children.

Remember, youth soccer is about fun, and that with happy and harmonious relationships comes respect.  Don’t berate your players or they will come to hate you.  Make the experience playing on your soccer team a great one and you will find great success as a soccer coach!


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