My u/15 girls can't play as a team.

My u/15 girls can't play as a team.

I really have a big problem with my u/15 girls.  They just can't play as a team. Any advice please. There's always a fight between someone.


Hockey CoachCoach
Hockey CoachCoach

HI , this is a tough one to handle. Have had simiiar problems but not sure if results werer as good as i liked.

1.  is it between higher skilled players and lower skilled, ie bitching about missed traps,hits etc

2. is it just off field bitchiness/friendships etc being brought to the game?

If no 1, then maybe you can talk to both player/s groups seperately about their roles in the team to win matches. ie  your skilled players need to accept that the lower skilled will stuff up and  they to be more tolerant/helpful and give positive comments to the lower skilled or you may need to drag them if they are abusive to a team mate.

Maybe use the lower skilled players to take the frees and to then pass to the higher skilled for more movement into attack. Its not easy to teach tolerance but that is what's needed as  i am sure you realise.

2. if it's off field coming onto onfield , maybe you just need to laydown the law to the group. Any negative comments/attitude will be rewarded with the bench regardless of who or where they play. But you must be prepared to reinforce it,even if it costs you the game/s until they learn to keep their mouths shut and just play the game.

Worst case maybe you need to lose a player or or two who wont play ball and behave. Better to have a happy losing team than have a fighting losing team (hard to do but less stress for you!!)

 Iknow this is not a silver bullet fix, but i hope it helps a little in what can be an annoying distraction to everyone involved.

cheers and best of luck

ian koch

Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

not knowing how far into the season you are, but getting kids to gel can be tough.  if you have tried laying down the law and being tough isnt work (this is normally my approach) how about trying something completely different that changes their focus a little and brings some fun into the game.  

parents vs kids game of touch (still keeping up with their fitness at least).  

kids coach the coach (how game are you to take on this?)

maybe a game of beach soccer and some fitness work.  really anything to take them out of their normal training and playing environment and make them work as a team.  

you could also pair up the people that like each other the least and get them to teach the other a skill they think they need to work on, or to get them to work together to come up with an exercise for the whole team to work on and use one each week.  

it might get some dialogue going and help.

good luck.

Hockey CoachCoach

Hi Marite

Not easy one but this is how I stop the bitchy ness and get them to play together.

If it is skills get the skilled player to buy into the concept of a team game and buy including the less skilled player it will help them look good because they can show off their passing skills and this normally leads to a 1-2 pass that will give the skilled player a chance to get into space and voila both feel great.

Sometimes it can be the case the kid is a playground bully, this will be know to all the girls bench or bin her untill such time as she changes her attitude and mind, bullies oftern get "Shown up" in a team enviroment because they are not boss , watch for this as they try bring everyone down which is hugly disruptive, I also do not allow these kids to intrupt or talk at all while I am busy coaching however I allow others to interact, they see this and start changing their attitude towars becoming part of the group.

Good luck.

Hockey CoachCoach

Hi Marite

Try warm ups as a team, I get one of the teams to run as a conga like a snake and then whem i shout they run to the back. An old army trick is to break them then make them, giving them something to believe in as well. As Ex forces I have been told that Im Autocratic but weve just been promoted then won the cup so it might work. When one fights they all take a run. And with the fun laughing and giggling with team warm ups relying on each other then they seee to gell.

Hope I helped

Hockey CoachCoach

Hie there

I also had the same problem,but I solved it by introducing team talks at the begining of every session as well as introducing an open door policy. It also helps a lot to make use of ice breaking activities just to help them find common ground %3A).

hope it works out well wish you all the best!

Hockey CoachCoach


My approach is relatively simple, but needs care when implementing. One has to recognise that this behaviour is normal for teenage girls but not acceptable on a pitch. Also one has to realise that girls are soon to be women and 'like to be heard'. So the art here is to be tough but also keep them engaged.

My analogy to teamwork is like a team rowing a boat - everyone is on the boat at the start, no-one gets off, we all row together, if someone is struggling then we help them. Anyone who misses the boat is not on the team or someone is rowing in a different direction then they need to get off the boat immediately.

So, I am tough when it comes to team work - I manage over 50 kids, and have sent off very good players from my own team (in internal matches), who row in the opposite direction. Once this is done, you then need to spend time to explain (on 1-to-1) why you did it and allow them to air main frustrations. each of their frustrations must be addressed and you must not waiver from your original decision. By courteous at all times.

It's really important to stamp out bad behaviour (even from most skillful players), otherwise it will be your downfall and occupy most of your coaching time and just be overly stressful.

I have recently introduced a 'sin bin' for bad behaviour during training, e.g. green card for 2 mins, yellow for 5 mins etc.

On the otherside of the coin, you MUST recognise and reward good teamwork, and praise players in front of eachother. At the end of each of my sessions, I award 'player of the day' award - never just for great skills, but for behavourial stuff, like teamwork, good calling for the ball, great manners, being brave and trying new techniques.

Behaviour is everything and is more important than skills. I would rather play with 9 average players who work together (and who will eventually rise), than with 11 players where a few are difficult.

If problem persists, then escalate to parents. 

Our club was very lucky recently as we hosted the South Korean Women's Olympic squad for their pre-Olympic training. They brought the national high school boys team. When the coach speaks, everyone not only listens but concentrates - incredible. My kids saw this, and this is now what I expect.

Good luck !! Please let us know how you get on. I'm keen to learn if you had a different approach that worked.

Hockey CoachCoach


I may just be saying a combination of what other people have already said but I had a similar problem last season with my U16 boys cup team. 

I used a combination of different things which turned out to work very well, but obviously it depends on the group. One thing I did do was gave them a lot of fitness, to the point where they were hating me for it, but it meant that they stopped focusing on each others flaws etc and instead hated me as a team. Perhaps not the most ideal situation at first but they soon realise what you've done and appreciate it.

Another method I used was pairing the stronger players with the weaker players. In large group drills you often find the stronger players stick together and shout at anything that goes wrong, however when they were separated I found many of the stronger players actually ended up coaching the weaker ones. This led to much less bitchiness etc in large drills.

Finally I tried to include a large number of teamwork type of drills in the first few sessions and mixed the teams up so people weren't with who they knew.

Hope this helps.

Hockey CoachCoach

Hi all,

I have had a similar problem with my mixed team this year, We won every game with at least a good 7 goal advantage, and there lies the problem.

My team was divided girls & boys. The boys had the better skills and speed and were leaving the girls out. After pulling my hair out for several weeks and trying the Tough love approach. I found that the kids were just getting cocky and not working as a team. So I got our clubs woman’s team to play them and beat them. After this they started to work as a team for the first 3 weeks and then deteriorated back into the past habits.

I spent one training session with the kids doing 'Team building exercises' with them. Human knot, everyone must hold hands and then try and untangle themselves in to a circle. This relies on them talking to each other and helping to get the job done. Then I did the electric fence scenario. Put up a rope/chord between 2 trees and get the kids to help each other over the fence. You can't go under it and if you touch it the whole team has to start again. The last one we did was try and get the team to stand in a small circle a hoop works well or rope about the same size as a Basketball mid-court circle. They all have to have at least one body part in the hoop and nothing touching the area around it.

My team is working better now, but we still have a long way to go. It also helps to have a strong captain Kids won't listen to an adult but they will listen to their pairs. If I have an issue with the team I will talk to them first and if they still don't listen then it’s the captains turn and she usually sorts them out for me.

Hope this has helped.

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