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Coaching Kids Football

Evening all, apologies if there is already a thread on this. I've been stupid enough to put my hand up to take over my son's u9 football team as they were going to fold the team because they didn't have anyone to coach them. It's fair to say I'm learning on the job :D and I wondered if there are any fellow youth "coaches" out there, that had any advice on drills/tactics or just general advice? Without getting the violin out, my group of kids have been left behind a bit, and I'm on a mission to prove a point.

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    I think @ValleyGary coaches kids near Dartford.
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    Shag said:
    Get someone to help you out deffo, esp on match day there’s plenty to do
    loads of drills tailored for your age group online, soccer coach weekly is quite good 
    you just have to keep them interested and at that age keep it fun I’d say 
    try and give them equal amounts of game time and try kids in different positions 
    The parents will prob give you more grief than the kids
    best of luck 
    These I would say. 

    I coached U10 and U11 in the Selkent Youth League. 

    If I did it again I would spend more time letting them play football during training, and not so much time doing drills.

    Obviously do drills if necessary, but they should be a lot of fun and not complicated.

    It is all very rewarding if it goes well.

    Good luck.
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    Gillis said:
    I think @ValleyGary coaches kids near Dartford.
    No, pretty sure that was his mum
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    edited July 8
    I took over coaching my son's team when they were a bit older but being close to it for years I would give some advice. Firstly, good luck, you will get a lot of 'advice' from parents when things are not going well. It can be hard. Secondly, understand the capabilities of the team. If you have 1 hour or 2 hours training a week, understand that and keep it simple and fun. Fun is a big word and I used to pick sides and make small sided games as fun and competitive as possible. I learned that points and improvements need to be gradual and can't be dealt with instantly.

    Do a warm up but beyond that coaches who spend 20 minutes plus on exercises and fitness are a joke. They are not Pep or Nathan Jones. You need to expect the players to get fit outside of training but the competitive games are the best way to increase fitness in the time you have. As for drills, again understand your limited time and capacity of your players, you are not Pep. It is always about the players and not your ego. I say this because I observed this a lot with some managers.

    You do need to win games because if you don't youngsters will stop enjoying it and many will pack it in. But at the younger ages, winning is not the be all and end all and development is more important. As they get older, winning should IMO become increasingly more important. Also, think about yourself. When I was coaching I become a bit of a bastard which I am not proud of. Not to the players, but I took a lot of things personally and actually disliked a lot of opponents/managers. I don't think this was healthy but when you are in it, even at a youth capacity you can be drawn in if you're not careful. 

    I miss it but don't miss it if that makes sense. Winning the cup at Bishop Stortford's ProKit Stadium with a massive crowd, mostly against us, with our last kick at youth level (penalty shootout) will be one of the proudest moments of my life. Seeing the joy in the lads and them having that night, it makes it all worthwhile. And I will always be personalyl proud of the part I played in that.

    What I was proud of is the fact I never criticised a player during a game. I would criticise the team generally if I felt it was needed, not during the game, but I used to take players aside in training as they were playing a small sided game. I would ask  them about the game and they woukd identify things they could do better without me having to, but I took them aside to praise them too. In a game, when a player did something good I would point and get their attention and clap them. You could see them gain pride and confidence.  

    All the best on your jouney, as that is what it will be. You will find your own path but hope my tips were helpful.
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    Thanks all, some really good stuff there. I can already relate to alot of things mentioned.
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    Great advice from @MuttleyCAFC

    Fun is the keyword. To repeat Muttley on two points as well: 

    1. Let the players dictate and feedback during training and games, give them an objective for the game and let them feedback on it at HT and FT as well as any subs.

    2. Totally agree with the fitness thing. Let players get fit in their own time. I did absolutely zero fitness work without a ball. You can get fitness up without them realising with small, intense games. 

    My son is in the U5s, their coaches are obsessed with running etc already. Of an hour session on Saturday, it was 27 minutes before they touched a football, then they made four and five-year olds do 5 and 6-a-side games, when hardly anyone gets a kick. Absolute joke. I’m fighting the urge to step in.

    Ball time. Ball time. Ball time. 
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    edited July 8
    Interesting to hear the comments from Dads who have given it a go with the younger age groups.

    I was at a massive (not Sheffield Wed !) club in the Tandridge league with so many teams from 6 to 18 and an adult team, that at manager's meetings it was a lot of egos brought together.

    Agree with Red Robin and Muttley on many points.
    It's all about the ball and encourage the lads to do fitness in their own time. The only time we managed two training sessions was the week before a semi and a final (we won against the odds) despite the semi final being a great tactical triumph against a team from Peckham who had won every match in their league I nearly got sacked by the committee as I didn't use any subs when we were holding on at 1-0.
    The Charter at the club was every boy gets minutes which I did in the League but this was a chance to get to a final which wouldn't come around too often with 32 teams entered.

    I have a obsessive nature and just once before that semi final in the cup I rang up from the handbook another manager from the same division of our opponents. On being told they have only one weakness which was the keeper and their star players are two wingers, we set up with a 5-3-2 low block and tried to hit them on the break and with only two chances created all match for us we scored from the rebound from the keeper. Happy days and their manager said it was the first time they hadn't scored at least 2 all season. (Ok Sam but it doesn't make you the next Pep!)

    Parents will tell you their son has had a trial at ..... and they are the next Jude Bellingham, and this happened quite often with a few parents they are the first person to give their son grief when they misplaced a pass after 5 minutes. I stopped this and said only encouragement from the parents and you as manager and hopefully your assistant will give constructive advice during and at HT and FT.

     7 aside for the younger age groups was always roll on and off so every player can get minutes and it should be fun ( if you win !) make sure you can tie boots up quickly because many of the kids can't.

    I was fortunate that my son was the top scorer and fastest player (District schools sprinter) as nepotism will be mentioned behind your back by the odd Mother or two ! 

    11 aside once they reached 10 was also roll on and off and I really can't remember what age that changed ?

    I went back as a Dad when my son moved on to another club and I tried to watch away from the manager as it was his gig.
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    if you can afford it, get a coach in to do it we did it with our boys from u13's upwards, at that age all we got was pissing around and back chat, we got a qualified coach in, the kids enjoyed it a lot more and 2 promotions followed. It is extremely time consuming and can at times be frustrating when you turn up to training with loads of no shows.
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    Thank your lucky stars you are cutting your teeth on.kids football, football where the enjoyment of a child reacting to fully putting their laces through a half volley and either smacking another kid in the boat or seeing the ball incomprehensively sail into the top corner is only marred by parents who behave embarrassingly on the sides and always know best. 

    Compared to adult football where the arseholes would routinely let you down after swearing blind they would see you on Sunday as planned, would skank you for subs, need shouting at to put nets up at home games or god forbid run the line, would not turn up at the pub after or the ones who never had money for subs would show up and proceed to eat all the food and ponce drinks. I was always envious of people I knew running kids teams in that the parents were responsible for dragging them out of bed and transporting them to where they were meant to be. I'd regularly be knocking on doors and dragging young males out of their pits at 9am on a Sunday. 


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    edited July 8
    Great advice from @MuttleyCAFC

    Fun is the keyword. To repeat Muttley on two points as well: 

    1. Let the players dictate and feedback during training and games, give them an objective for the game and let them feedback on it at HT and FT as well as any subs.

    2. Totally agree with the fitness thing. Let players get fit in their own time. I did absolutely zero fitness work without a ball. You can get fitness up without them realising with small, intense games. 

    My son is in the U5s, their coaches are obsessed with running etc already. Of an hour session on Saturday, it was 27 minutes before they touched a football, then they made four and five-year olds do 5 and 6-a-side games, when hardly anyone gets a kick. Absolute joke. I’m fighting the urge to step in.

    Ball time. Ball time. Ball time. 
    Yes, you get better fitness from playing than half hearted exercises. I couldn't believe one coach doing 25 minutes fitness work without the ball when all he had was an hour a week. Only knobs give give them really complicated drills that they can't engage in. Nothing wrong with the drills but make sure they are appropriate to the abilities and indeed attention spans of the players. And I made the small sided game a focal point. I got parents telling me I needed to do more drills thaat they enjoy and can do but they get a lot of knowledge of their teammates games, fitness and fun from the small sided games. So be confident in what you are trying to do, people will disagree with it whatever it is. But what can you do in an hour?

    I always picked the sides too ensure the games were competitive. I did some where I changed it up and players could only play with their wrong foot until I said to change. 3 goals equal a headed goal etc... Or just straight simple game. If it lacked intensity change the sides but I got a good idea how to get even teams. Also I often went in goal and another parent went in the other goal as it is good for keepers to play on the pitch as much as possible. We made out we badly wanted to beat each other which gave the games an edge and the players loved training. Training was for them, not for me.
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    Your biggest fear should be other parents , why isn’t my Johnny can’tkickaball getting much playing time OR HE should play up front etc etc 
    parents shouting out bang it long , clear it , opposite instructions to what you are giving the kids that leads to confusion .
    i always enjoy the silent games when the divvy parents learn to shut The fuck up and let The kids and coaches get on with it 
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    Parents always seem to think their son and I presume daughter is the best player on the team. 
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    Parents always seem to think their son and I presume daughter is the best player on the team. 
    That’s not always been my experience. I’ve definitely had a few that have called me late at night asking for their son to be moved to the ‘A’ team or saying they need to play at a higher level of football. The same kids would be back a couple of years later realising playing with their mates is more important.

    Generally though I think I got very lucky with my parents. All very supportive and realistic and not afraid to muck in and help if I asked. 
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    Gillis said:
    I think @ValleyGary coaches kids near Dartford.
    Hi, just came across this. There maybe some articles on here that will be useful to you. 

    https://www.teamstats.net/blog
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