To coach a youth football team, it is important to implement a training strategy based on the stage of development the boys are in. In this way, individual and group potential can be fully exploited. Let’s see together how to coach a youth football team.
It is important to emphasize the learning process, using the procedures for the acquisition of football rules. These fundamentals go hand in hand with children’s cognitive, emotional and motor development.
Positive conflict resolution, both individually and in groups, must be the backbone of training. In addition, children must be taught the appropriate values and rules of conduct. Each workout must be focused on the seriousness, joy and didactic motivation necessary to create an environment in which enjoying sport is the priority. Here’s how to coach a youth soccer team.
To coach a youth football team, you must first use the appropriate number of elements and infrastructures. Also, ball exercises must be able to grab the kids’ full attention.
Later, you will need to work on individual skills such as passing, controlling, shooting or sprinting, along with other techniques such as positioning and relay.
It will be necessary to constantly evaluate the group and individual skills. Some of the conditions to be evaluated are: the positions of the players, the functioning of the group, the executive functions and the level of attention, among others.
Stages of training of a youth football team
We can differentiate the following types of training in football for children, based on the intensity and specificity of the work:
- Warm-up : consists of dynamic games that exploit attention and income at the pace necessary for training. The instructions must be given based on the speed of reaction and the integration of multiple elements at the same time. This phase ends with stretching and lasts from 10 to 15 minutes.
- Initiation : carry out short exercises in pairs or in groups that activate the motor gestures necessary for the game. They can also be made in small spaces and last between 10 and 20 minutes.
- Middle phase : series of exercises between 5 and 8 minutes in small spaces and with increasing complexity. It lasts 20-25 minutes in total.
- High phase : exercises in larger spaces, in order to understand the tactics and movements according to the strategy proposed by the coaches. In this phase we try to strengthen the skills of each position, from the goalkeeper’s exit to the goal. It lasts from 20 to 30 minutes.
- Final phase : free throws are taught. It lasts 5 minutes and ends with stretching.
Each child needs a special approach, depending on the position in which he usually plays. Based on this position, the skills to be perfected will be evaluated.
The idea is that one or two children are selected in each practice to perform a specific exercise separately. The individual approach strengthens confidence and makes every child feel special.
At the age of 6-8, children have fairly even potential – with a few exceptions. The development of this potential can be measured by subtracting what interferes with the learning work done.
This is why the exercises must be dynamic, not very extensive and progressive, but they must also attract the attention of the children to the maximum. The fact that children understand play does not mean that everyone has sufficiently developed motor skills to perform the motor gestures required by sport.
A progressive training is then proposed, in which the workload is distributed in such a way that the child first learns to perform the movements correctly. This will give him greater confidence when performing them during matches.
For example, one of these exercises may consist of teaching how to perform a jump, how to position the body and hit the ball with the head. This will allow the child to strengthen the correct physical execution of movements with greater confidence and greater precision.
Once this preliminary phase has been completed, continue with the execution of the movements with the soccer ball. Therefore, the conditions will be adapted in such a way that, as training progresses, they are more similar to the real game.
How to manage emotions in youth football?
The emotional aspect is fundamental. It must never be forgotten that the way in which coaches deal with victory or defeat is an example for children. It should be borne in mind that the engine of football is the joy and emotion that this sport causes in a child, not the competition itself.
In a group, both the frustration of the defeat and the happiness of the victory are perceived. The dynamics of football must be used as a metaphor to teach how to face the obstacles that will be encountered in life.
Each child should feel comfortable with their role. Finally, both patience and positive reinforcement will be key aspects during training.
Youth football as a social tool
To coach a youth football team, football must be understood as a device that promotes the skills of athletes. In this sense, it is worth teaching some rules that promote a sense of belonging and respect for others. Therefore, for group dynamics to work properly, the following rules of conduct must be promoted:
- I commit.
- Sense of work.
- Team spirit.
- Respect for the opponent.
- Care of the uniform and infrastructure.
- Sharing of values.
How to manage situations between children and parents?
It is necessary to request a meeting with parents during the first few weeks in order to communicate how the coaches work, proceed and resolve conflicts. C i is also expected that adults participate in the training process, to accompany and enjoy the good atmosphere created by everyone.
Furthermore, bullying must not be taboo and humiliation must never be tolerated as a way of relating. It is necessary to dialogue with the children as much as possible to ensure that they use their influence on the rest of the group in a positive and inclusive way. In turn, it will be necessary to ensure that children with a certain predisposition to be victims are removed from that role.
Coaching a youth football team is certainly not an easy task. In fact, working with children implies being an active part in their development, making a daily effort to improve their skills.
This job requires a lot of preparation. On many occasions, it is even necessary to forget about tactics and techniques and prioritize the emotional aspect.