How To Make Success in Soccer Through a Whole Team Effort
In youth soccer, I’ve found that the best team is usually the one that has the best single player. You know this kid: He’s the one that repeatedly takes the ball and runs past your entire team en route to scoring 6 goals and notching 3 assists in a 9-0 drubbing before his coach finally yanks him midway through the second half. This child leaves teams obliterated and crushes anyone’s professional soccer dreams in one swift hour of glorious passion and dominance. But while his teammates and coach may revel in their victory, deep down inside they know that they really contributed nothing to the win and may feel a bit despondent. This is not the ideal situation for a youth soccer team. As a coach, you should push your players to contribute equally towards making plays and turn this into a true team effort.
Stress the importance of passing to your players. Yes, when your team has someone who can actually take on an entire team, they will surely make use of that (and it can pay strong dividends), but convince them that passing is more efficient. You want your team to pass the ball around like Barcelona, a Spanish powerhouse that stresses the importance of quick passing and movement. This team plays soccer as it was meant to be played, and they often win through a full team effort. Even though there are star players like Lionel Messi and Neymar on this team, they emphasize passing to its fullest capabilities.
Another reason that building a strong team mentality within your squad is important is that you want to maximize players’ personal gains and development while they are on your team. Push them to get better and become better soccer players. So you can dribble around 4 players before scoring a goal? So what! Can you orchestrate a successful counter-attack that involves 4 of your teammates and finishes with you passing the ball into the net?
When a player is talented enough to single handedly change a game on his own, no one is actually improving. The teammates don’t touch the ball, and even the star player won’t learn how to gel with a team. Once he joins a premier club and faces real competition, his tricky runs will be met with a stone wall tackle. Teach your players how to pass and they will become better.
Finally, possibly the best thing about instilling a strong team mentality in your soccer team is that the players will genuinely be able to celebrate a victory all together. This is far better than any one player stealing the show. When everyone in the team can all smile upon their own work in helping the team along to victory, you have succeeded as a soccer coach. Now your players are friends!
Therefore, even if you have a young Diego Maradona on your soccer team, challenge them to become a team player, and get everyone involved in making plays. Not only will everyone (including the star) improve, but your team will be happier and function better as a whole!