Soccer Coaching 101: Have the Best Season Ever!
You have finally done it! You have gone above and beyond the call of duty as a soccer parent and signed up to coach your child’s youth soccer team. Coaching is a great way to be there for your kid and their friends as they grow as young athletes and people. It’s also a big commitment. Don’t know where to start? Have no fear, our experts here at Extreme Canopy have you covered. In this guide, we cover must-know coaching tips and must-have gear: a winning combination that will help you lead your team to a great season.
Quick Tips to Make Everything Run Smoothly
Soccer coaching is not all about what’s in your coaches’ bag or what you write on the dry erase board before the game. Below are some quick organizational and interpersonal coaching tips to take to heart in your first year of coaching.
- Don’t do everything yourself! Get other parents involved. It takes a village to raise a child; it takes a city to successfully run a soccer team. You are the coach, by default the leader, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything. Team snacks, carpools, planning the end of the year party — these are responsibilities that can be spearheaded by other parents. Get in communication with some of the engaged soccer moms and dads on the team and set up a parents committee to facilitate all team-related responsibilities that aren’t coaching. You should be saving your time and mental capacities for coaching-related tasks.
- Make sure you are using proper communication skills. As the leader of your soccer team, you need to lead by example. At the youth sports level, winning isn’t everything. Youth soccer is about developing skills and instilling a true passion for soccer and physical activity for every athlete on the field. So, if you are naturally the sort of sports player or fan that is aggressive, it’s time to pack away that aggression and take on a more positive set of coaching tactics. You’ve heard the old adage that you catch more flies with honey — well, you positively impact young players more with words of encouragement than aggression or negativity. Coach the right way and everyone on your team will be much happier (and likely play better).
- Preach fair play to both players and parents. Even in youth sports, nothing is worse than a bad reputation. To ensure that your team displays and earns respect, preach fair play and positive fandom. Not only do these principles teach growing adolescents a set of values and practices that will greatly help throughout life, they also make your job as the coach so much easier because you won’t have to worry about dealing with disciplinary action (for both athletes and parents).
- Establish a warmup and cooldown routine. If given the opportunity, most kids will choose to not warmup before or cooldown after a practice or game. Don’t let this happen. Neglecting these routines can damage growing bodies and lead to avoidable injuries. Establish a warmup routine and cooldown routine for your team to do before and after games and practices. Do some research to find the most effective exercises. Usually, a combination of dynamic and static stretching is good to make sure all muscle groups nice and loose before and after physical activity.
The Basic Equipment You’ll Need to be an Excellent Coach
Strikers get more goals when they have the right cleats for their feet. Goalies make more saves when they wear good gloves. Soccer coaches? They make their teams play better when they bring the right equipment to practices and games. Here are some of the items that you must have to effectively coach your team.
- Cones are a coach’s best friend. Available in a wide range of sizes and colors, these lightweight and portable products are great for making boundaries for any of your drills or scrimmages. They’re also great for drills. Think about investing in 40-50 short cones that come in a long, thin cone holder. If you forget the cone holder, a bungie cord is a good way to keep you cones organized.
- Pop-Up Goals. A lot of youth soccer practices happen at parks where there are no soccer goals to be found. Even if your team is lucky enough to practice at a proper soccer field, you don’t necessarily want to use big, full-sized goals for more precision-geared drills. Packable pop-up goals are an excellent option for any sort of foot skills drill that requires a goal. Invest in a few to ensure that your players always have a target, no matter where you hold your practice.
- Pennies (Practice Jerseys): During practice, you’ll have to split up your players into various teams for any scrimmages and other drills. If you don’t have pennies for one side to wear, it’s going to be utter chaos out on the field. Your drills and scrimmages will suffer, and your players (and winning) record will suffer in turn. Invest in pennies to stop the chain of suffering. Have your subs wear pennies on the sideline and the confusion of passing a ball out of bounds will be completely gone.
- Instant Canopies: Shade and water are essential for tired athletes. Water is easy to bottle up and bring to a soccer pitch or practice, but shade isn’t quite so simple—unless you have an instant canopy Sometimes known as pop-up tents, instant canopies are compact, lightweight, and easy-to-set-up tents that can provide ample shade for players, fans, and coaches.
Build Pride with Team Wears and Accessories
Nothing stokes the fires of team pride more than team-specific gear and signage. Your players are playing their hearts out — they deserve to look good. Your fans are cheering — give them some support. Consider getting some of these items for your team in order to make sure your squad stands out.
- Matching Team Bags. Soccer players need to carry a lot of stuff to and from practices and games. It is a major blow to team morale if the star striker doesn’t have their alternate jersey and can’t play in the game because they don’t have a soccer bag. Ensure that every one of your players has all the essentials (and build team pride!) with matching team bags. Bags are a great investment because, unlike clothes on growing kids, soccer bags can be used for years to come.
- Matching Warm-Up Gear: Have your team warmup like the pros with matching team warmup kits. A warmup sets the tone for the game to come, so why not give your squad a leg up on the competition with matching warmup gear? Poll the parents on your team to see if they would be willing to invest in matching warm up gear (and bags), because these items will likely need to be an individual investment on the part of each family. You’ll also need to ensure that everyone is on board so your team doesn’t look mismatched.
- A Team Feather Banner or Tear Drop Flag: How many times have you seen players late to warmups for a game because they went to the wrong field in a massive twenty-field sports complex? Combat the directionally-challenged kids (and parents) with a team feather banner or tear drop flag. These freestanding signs are easy to transport and set up. Available in heights up to 15, they’ll ensure that every player and parents can find your team. They’ll also be a welcome source of team spirit that you can use season after season.
- A Custom Canopy Tent: A lot of soccer teams will have pop-up tent Not many have canopies featuring their team colors and their team names in large bold letters high above everyone’s heads. Score two goals with one shot by investing in a custom canopy tent to bring your team both shelter and team spirit. Keep your team protected from the elements, and boost morale with a custom pop-up tent that tops the competition.
Shop Soccer Essentials Here at Extreme Canopy
Your goal as a soccer coach is to have fun and see your players play their best. Our goal at Extreme Canopy is to make the high-quality tents, flags, and banners in the industry to give you one less thing to worry about throughout the season. For more than 15 years, our team here at Extreme Canopy has been the league-leading direct-to-consumer tent company in the United States and beyond. All of our tents are made from rigorously tested, reliable materials, including aluminum for our frames, steel for our pins and joints, and PVC-coated polyester for our canvases. We also offer a variety of high-quality canopy accessories to for all of your various canopy staking needs. Check out our standard and custom canopy tent, banner, and flag options to help your team stand out from all the rest, and shop soccer essentials online here at Extreme Canopy today!