Salem Youth Soccer Association: Coaches' Corner

Coach Courses
NHSA schedules, full course descriptions and application forms.
Coaches pay the discounted NHSA fee (we are NHSA members) and then after successful completion of the course, submit an Expense Report (from our Handouts page) to SYSA to get full reimbursement.


Better Soccer More Fun
Information on coaching small sided games.
It is recognized Internationally as a valuable source of information on how to use games like 3v3 and 4v4 to help players play better soccer.


Coaching Goals
  • Fun. Do they want to come back?

  • Positive reinforcement. Use positive feedback during practice and games.

  • Honor the Game. ROOTS = Respect for Rules, Opponents, Officials and Teammates.

  • Not Win/Loss record but ELM is most important. Player giving 100% Effort, trying to Learn techniques and apply them, not afraid to make Mistakes by trying something new. Embrace this philosophy and stress it to your players and parents on the 1st day of practice.

  • Repetition. Kids love repetition if it's fun. How many times has your child watched his favorite video or played his favorite video game?. Don't feel like you have to have a new drill every practice. Use the drills that they have fun with, have plenty of ball contact, works on the techniques they need improvement on and has several of the Game's components in the one drill (Technique, Psychology=focus and effort, Fitness, Tactics=decision-making).

  • Progression. Same drills, but add levels of difficulty and then go from unopposed to opposed (defender), where appropriate.

  • Individual Player Development through Fundamental Techniques. Children under 12 should be mainly working on Technique.

  • Team play really only comes after age 12. This is where Tactics (decision-making) really start to take shape.

  • Let the game teach. Don't give them all the answers. Ask them what they did and what they could do differently. Let them figure it out.

  • Limit Elimination Drills. Instead of elimination, have "eliminated" player dribble around cones and get back in the drill. Typically, they are the players that need more ball contact.
  • Incorporate Stretching (even U6!!). Warm-up first, then stretch. Do some drills, then stretch. More drills, Cooldown, then stretch. Send them home. While they are stretching, don't lecture, but engage them by asking them what they like and don't like about the practice or setup for your next drill.

  • No Lines, No Lectures, No Laps. 100% activity for 90% of the time. Actively involve everyone. Don't lecture more than 30 seconds at a time. You have lost their attention after 30 seconds. No drills, use "games" for practice.

  • Try to reinforce positive behavior where it is due. Aim to give each player some positive feedback by the end of the practice so that they leave feeling like they have achieved something, even if it is the smallest of things.

  • When coaching soccer, express your enthusiasm and love for the game as you communicate with the players. There is nothing worse than a coach who talks with a monotone voice and stands with his/her arms crossed for the entire practice. Be energetic and upbeat, and your players will sense that you want to be there.


Coaches Practice Checklist:
  • Is it a safe and appropriate training area?

  • Are the activities fun?

  • Are the activities organized?

  • Are all the players involved in the activities(100% effort for 90% of the practice)?

  • Are the activities developmentally appropriate?

  • Is creativity & decision making being used?

  • Are the spaces used appropriately?

  • Simple to Complex progression?

  • Do the activities work on the techniques they need improvement on?

  • Do the activities contain several of the Game's components (situations) in the one drill (Technique, Psychology=focus and effort, Fitness, Tactics=decision-making).

  • Does child feel comfortable enough to take a risk (psychological aspect)?

  • Is the coaches' feedback appropriate?

Remember: Be brief, clear, concise and have the correct information.



Involving the Parents:
Some topics that you may want to address at the first practice are:

  • Distribute and go over the SYSA Parents Letter (Winning is secondary, Player’s emotional state, Respect towards coaches, teammates, opponents, referees and themselves).

  • Team Manager, SYSA toll-free number and SYSA web-site for info.

  • Carpool needs.

  • Training and game schedules. How you feel about starting and ending on time, what your attendance expectations are, what you think is a good excuse to miss training.

  • What each player should bring to training: properly sized inflated ball, filled water bottle, soccer attire, shin guards (Cleats are not mandatory.)

  • Most importantly, your philosophy about coaching this age of players. Let them know that everyone plays; that the game does not look like the older player's games; that you are there to ensure that their player is safe and has a good time, as well as learn about soccer.

  • What your expectations for them are during game time. How do you want them to cheer? Do they know that they should not coach from the sidelines?

  • Above all, try to enjoy yourself. If you do they probably will too.



Coaching Resources
Kelley Library has several books and videos. The following are recommendations:
The Baffled Parent's Guide to Great Soccer Drills ISBN#007138488x
The Manual of Soccer Coaching ISBN#????
Soccer Coach's Guide to Practices, Drills & Skills ISBN#0806982187
Soccer Fundamentals with Wiel Coerver (3 VHS tapes).

SYSA has 2 VHS tapes available for loan "FUNdamental Soccer by Karl Dewazien".

Also see the handouts below and other pages on this website, in particular "Letter to Parents" and "Links" (Pills Drills, etc).


Principles of Youth Coaching
Handout: Principles of Youth Coaching

Soccer Drills
Handout: Soccer Drills

U6 Handbook
Handout: U6 Handbook

U6 Lesson Plans
Handout: U6 Lesson Plans

U8 Guidelines
Handout: U8 Guidelines

U8 Sessions
Handout: U8 Sessions

Characteristics of U6 Players
Handout: Characteristics of U6 Players

Characteristics of U8 Players
Handout: Characteristics of U8 Players

Characteristics of U10 Players
Handout: Characteristics of U10 Players

Characteristics of U12 Players
Handout: Characterisitics of U12 Players

Fun Games for Soccer Practice
Handout: Fun Games for Soccer Practice

Coaching Considerations
Handout: Coaching Considerations