How to Keep Up Your Youth Soccer Team’s Morale after a Big Loss
It is bound to happen to your team eventually. You have practiced hard, maybe have even won a few games, and so you feel that your team is set to go undefeated in the season. And then you face a team that is simply better than yours, and they give you a solid beating and send your team home in glum disarray and a scoreline around 7-0.
These matches often break the spirits of weak individuals, and these are the kinds of games that a successful coach will help their team move on from. Don’t be too hard on your team here. They feel just as bad as you do, and probably feel even worse. This is not the time to make them run wind sprints because they gave up before the final whistle. Try to focus on the positives in your post game speech and let them know that they played hard, but that there are things to work on.
Also, during the beating, try to take note of why your team is being outplayed. Does the opposing team close down on your players fast and take the ball away? Is there just one player on their team who cannot be stopped? Try to find out what led to the defeat, and focus on that weakness at practice during the next week.
Be sure to explain to your team what you think caused the defeat. Also, ask the players themselves what they feel needs to be assessed. After this is done, move on from that game and keep up positivity. This way your team can acknowledge the loss, and focus on a way to improve instead of dwelling on the embarrassing game.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the sport needs to be fun. If your team constantly gets beat week after week, try to make practices more enjoyable so that the players still enjoy playing the sport. Losing becomes very discouraging for any young player, and the focus upon winning can be stressful and sway children away from the sport completely. Therefore, make sure that the practices can be fun and keep the players engaged in soccer.
Losses are tough to endure, and a blowout is even worse, but nothing deflates a team more than a mean coach who use to occasion to lambast the team. Such tactics work at higher age levels, but at the youth soccer level the focus needs to be on enjoying the sport. If your team simply stinks, tell your team not even to pay attention to the scoreline and simply do their best. Keeping up a positive attitude, even in the face of a disastrous game will keep your team happy and make the kids want to play the game. Once they begin to love the sport, then they will have the desire to improve, and once they do overcome a loss with a solid victory of their own, it will be that much sweeter.