Creating A Soccer Practice & Game Learning Environment that Develops the Mind & Body

Creating A Practice & Game Learning Environment That Develops the Mind & Body

 1)   Greeting: The Coach should greet all players coming into training in a pleasant way.  This will set a positive tone, while allowing the coach to get a quick simple assessment of player’s mental state coming into training.

2)   Nothing Personal:Nothing the coach says to players in regards to criticism or the enforcing of rules is ever personal.  This must be explained to every player very clearly.  The coach’s responsibility is to help each player and guide them in the process of learning the game.  The must coach have a genuine interest and care about all the players as people.  Interaction from coach to player is never to be demeaning in any way.  Instruction during training will be the main focus of communication, combined with positive re-enforcement and some humor to keep things fun, in my opinion.  However, it is the coach’s job to maintain proper discipline, respect, focus and work ethic within the team. The coach must have a structure in place that facilitates these qualities and eliminates unwanted behaviors.

3)   Effort & Attitude:All players are expected to train and play with a high work ethic, while maintaining an excellent attitude.  It is seen as disrespectful to the team, if a full effort can be given but isn’t, or if the attitude of a player is visibly poor.

4)   Peer Learning/Soles:Allow some time for players to teach each other in training, as individuals or in groups.  It is proven that when people are in charge of their own learning, or they must teach what they have learned, they retain more information, learn quicker and learn deeper.

5)   Support:Encourage players to support each other at all times. Enthusiasm and positive spirits are contagious. Training and games should contain energy, fun and excitement!

6)   Active Learner:Encourage players to ask questions, self-correct and peer-correct.

7)   No fear of Failure:Get rid of the words failure and afraid.  No player should feel intimidated or scared to try new skills or ask questions.  Having a growth mindset and being a life learner requires you to ask questions and learn new skills!  No person regardless of ability level and experience knows everything.  The top performers are always asking questions and then listening more than they speak.

8)   Team First:Each individual in the group is important and must be treated that way. There is never any one person that is more important then anyone else in the group or the group as a whole.

9)   Discovery Questions:Coaches should become skilled at answering some questions with questions. This will lead players on the path of discovery and creativity while placing some of the responsibility of learning on them!

10)Structure:Have well defined rules that make training organized with accountability for the players.  Punctuality, dress code, proper language and respectful behavior are examples of rules that help create a healthy training environment.

11)Learning Accountability:Players must understand that ultimately they are responsible for their own learning and improvement.  They are the only ones that can put in the required effort to get better at the sport.

12)Sense of Humor:The game is just that.  A game.  As much as we want to be champions and win the cup, soccer is a game, played by players who want to have fun and test themselves.  In life sometimes we tend to lose perspective, a sense of humor can help remind us of this.  It is a noble pursuit to want to become the best but it can be done with a balance.  High winds don’t blow all day.

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