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Youth soccer training is different than training high school or college students. Instead of getting a bunch of motivated sports players, you often start off with quite an unruly bunch. Yet with proper training, you can turn these kids into amazing soccer players. How do you do this? By keeping it fun, by building a great soccer culture and by instilling a sense of value in your players.
Keep it Fun
Remember that for kids, the only motivation for playing is fun. There are no awards or trophies on the line. There are no scholarships on the line. The only reason for playing is to have fun.
A lot of coaches mess this up by yelling at their kids. This is a surefire way to destroy self-esteem and teamwork. Doing this will take the fun out of the equation, causing poorly performing players and sometimes even having kids drop off your team.
No matter what you do, keep it fun. Believe it or not, you can build an amazing kids soccer team even while everyone is having a lot of fun.
Build a Solid Soccer Culture
When your kids first come to your team, they'll probably be loud, disruptive and unruly. That's perfectly fine.
It's important that as your team progresses, you start to instill a sense of soccer culture. You stress the importance of being on time. Your kids learn the importance of treating their fellow teammates with respect. You convey a real sense of what being part of a team is like.
Kids will likely have never experienced this before. That's only natural. As their coach, it's your job to slowly lead them into a soccer culture they'll enjoy being a part of. Proceed only as quickly as they're ready to change.
Instill a Sense of Value
Kids will enjoy soccer a lot more and improve a lot faster when they believe they're a valued member of the team.
You can do this by acknowledging and celebrating specific instances of success, no matter how small. If someone's passes were good, let them know. If someone made a great shot, let them know.
A lot of coaches believe in more of a "tough love" approach to coaching soccer. Although this is certainly a valid method, it's important that your kids feel valued first, before you start to employ tougher methods of training. If you don't do that first, your kids will likely feel like they aren't a valued member of the team.
If you can build your team while having fun, while building great soccer culture and while instilling a sense of value in your teammates, then you're well on your way to building a kids soccer team that will win game after game after game.
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