So with any group of youth soccer players in any age group a big challenge we face as coaches is how to cater to each player’s individual learning style. For each coaching point explained to the group it is encouraged to follow a structure which covers all the bases. For example:
· Say- Explain the point or task to be performed
· Show- Demonstrate the technique you want to see (have a player perform the technique if necessary)
· Do- Have the group go and practice the technique
Helping players to learn
Share the significance of what they do in training. Relate it to a game scenario, encourage players to answer the questions and solve problems rather than telling players why they have done a certain task.
Create a safe learning environment, players need to feel comfortable in practice in order to express themselves and realise their potential. Mistakes are to be expected and are a key tool to learning. Be constructive rather than critical, players will know when they have done something well, they know if they do something wrong too, be careful not to damage players confidence, opting to encourage them to try again instead.
Set achievable targets for players, set an individual goal. “How many times can you touch the ball in 20 seconds? Can you beat that score if you try again?” Rather than setting a team target that some players may not reach.
Remember that praise and feedback have to be given in order to build self confidence. One negative comment can have a lasting impact on a developing player. Soccer is about fun and enjoyment, and sharing in successes is a major contributor to this.