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Think the coach is the problem only issue is I am the coach

I took over a under 8s team 2 years ago unfortunately soccer is not my game and I did as there was no other option other than to fold. Im a good coach in terms of developing a good team (discipline, teamwork , sportsmanship fun etc) but I think my lack of knowledge about the game is holding the team back . I have a 12 players who are about to move up to the under 10s level , they skill level ranges from timid to very skilled, I try to give each player equal time and the lower skilled players are improving (just not at the same pace as the opposition). Unfortunately the opposition we face seem to be light years ahead in terms of playing a scheme and we are often found out during games (i have used a basic zone defense to try and stop the team becoming ball magnets). I think its a mixture of me insisting all players get equal playing time and the fact I dont know enough about the game to be able to coach an effective scheme and to react to opposition schemes. They are good kids and I want to give them a taste of success (you can only say it was bad luck so many times) but cant seem to get our club to take it to the next level. The drills on sportsplan are helpful but a lot of drills are too complicated for the kids age or can simply go wrong very quickly in reality. We dont get thrashed in games but we cant seem to eke out a draws or wins (I know its not all about winning but try explaining that to the kids when they lose on a regular basis)Any suggestions

Hi Mate ,

I've been coaching kids right up through the grades now coahing 1st division under 13's and one thing i found at that level is as long as its fun then your doing a great job .

Here's somthing you can try, set your team up in positions (strikers,midfield,backs,keeper etc.) but pick the ball up and get them passing the ball from the keeper through the backs to the strikers and doing 1-2's ,switching from side to side talking to each other and calling for the ball maybe running no more than 3 or 4 steps before passing all through the hands, its fun its a bit  like indoor netbal butl its fun, the better they get the faster it gets but they do learn how to postion themselves to recieve the ball and to look before passing and playing back if they need to movig the ball around the field.Step it up play deffence against attack next thing you know they'er learning how to mark the opposition.

Hope this helps and keep up the good work Coach



cheers bud will deffo try that i think the most annoying thing is that im trying to teach the right things (teamwork,fun etc) but we lose to teams that have a win at all costs attitude

If they see improvement in their game they won't care about the score. One of my teams lose every week but what they miss in game points they can gain in character  -if the encouragement and team spirit is still there. Thanks for stepping up and being coach. 

cheers bud Ive seen some of the less naturally gifted kids take some big steps forward and that is really gratifying . Ive always maintained a "if you train then you play" attitude and its tough sometimes when the game is on the line not to put your strongest team out but I do try to give equal time to all players regardless of ability

If the children are enjoying themselves you're doing something right. Results aren't the be all and end all, player development is. 

I think it's right and essential you give the kids equal playing time, they all develop at different speeds and if they don't get the same opportunity how can they develop? Also remember that some of your weaker players could be your stronger players in a couple of years. Bear in mind the ages of the children too, some could be almost a year older than the others which at this age is a big difference in terms of development and growth.

If you're trying to do it on your own rope some parents in to help, that way you can work in smaller groups giving each child closer attention and coaching and you can set up a number of drills moving the children to a new activity every ten minutes or so.


Your right and I agree 100% and one of the more gratifying moments as a coach is when one of the kids has a light bulb moment and it really is heart warming to see them evolve as players and as a person. 

Ive recently had to instil match bans for players that throw strops and tantrums as they were becoming too regular among a few of them and that has worked well as it shows the kids that regardless of ability if you dont play respectfully then you wont play.

It may be just that some of the teams have more natural players but i genuinely believe that we have some talented players we just cant seem to translate that into a cohesive team.

Im under no illusions that realistically I would doubt that many of the kids will end up playing football professionally and all Im trying to do is keep them invested in a sport which teaches them very good life lessons as well as having fun. It is just difficult to do that when your losing 13-0 or 19-4 especially when the opposition are laughing at them (not in a mean way but some of the comments can be very frustrating for the kids e.g I cant believe were 12-0 up or lets see if i can get a double hat trick). 

It also doesn't help that some of the opposition coaches employ an element of gamesmanship in order to give their team an advantage such as in our home tournament which was on a slight incline in every game we found ourselves playing uphill as the opposition nabbed the favourable end. I soon sorted that out with a coin toss to decide which end but that is an example of what I have to deal with.

Anyway thats my griping over I tend to do stuff like that in a forum like this in order to vent so as to not let the kids get wind of it. Thanks for your comments its all useful stuff to make me a better coach and is greatly appreciated.


Any coach who  lets his team win by more than 4 or 5 points 

in youth football should be seriously looked at bad form 


Some of the best coaches I had as a child (and others have shared the same thought) are the ones who knew very little about the game, but made the environment as fun and enjoyable as possible. Let a game teach the players, help them learn by making them forget that they're even learning!

If you want to develop your knowledge so you can deliver better learning points. Pick one skill and learning point for each session that you do, be it passing/shooting etc and look out for your learning point in the session, when you see it, step in and give that learning point, job done. After all, every coach/teacher in the world can only deliver one learning point at a time.

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  • search our library of 500+ football drills
  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans