Basics For Coaching the Younger Player
Words of wisdom from Paul Roderick, Head Coach of the Long Island Rough Riders Mens team
Be positive with your comments to players. If they make a mistake (and they will - a lot), find something positive to compliment, ie the effort, the technique or even the idea.
Do not just compliment the obvious - make sure you point out things that go unnoticed - especially things that they have been working on in practice - for example compliment Johnny when he creates space on the right - even if the ball does not go to him. This positive reinforcement will encourage the players to keep doing the right things (just make sure that Johnny klnows what the compliment was for).
OVER COMPLIMENT THE GOOD STUFF!
Try to avoid using terms that confuse players - or create bad habits - for example telling players 'not to pass into the middle' is just wrong. It makes the job at older levels of getting them out of the bad habits much more difficult (because passing into the middle is FINE if that is the right option). Instead change the wording to 'do not pass into trouble'.
Results Vs Development
It does not take a genius to understand that at the younger ages if you put your fastest kid up front and the big boot kids at the back you will win more games. This stops working pretty soon, though, so at this level we are prepared to sacrifice this type of win in the name of development. We are trying to create soccer players who not only are technically competent, but are also capable of making decisions on the field on their own.
Try to let the players make decisions for themselves on the field. This way we can truly see how they are progressing and developing.
If you need to get information to them - the best way to do it is sub them out and talk to them.