If you want your players to feel certainty, then you have to be certain as a coach. Certainty is delivered following extensive preparation for training session – excellence doesn’t happen ‘on the fly’. In this article Director of Coaching at Cincinnati United Soccer Club, Bobby Puppione, gives us some idea to help coaches be ready for that important session.

Recently on Twitter I posted some reminders to coaches/teachers. These reminders were not only meant for soccer coaches, but for coaches/instructors of all sports. And, to be honest, they were not just for others, but reminders I read on a daily basis before working with our youth players.! !

As coaches/teachers, directors, and technical leaders, we must understand the impact we have on our players on a daily basis. This impact can be a positive one or a negative one – it is on you to decide which one. Hopefully, the option you choose is a positive one. And the path you take begins with your preparation.! !

Unfortunately, too many coaches arrive at a field without a plan in place about what they want to accomplish with their players. This “on the fly” mentality happens too often and is a contributing factor to the lack of development in some players. We must continue to promote coaching education (through watching games, watching other coaches, mentors, clinics, symposiums, licensing, and more) and personal development in coaches. And, we must encourage coaches to invest time in their session planning so they can make their players better.

When planning a session, you need to do just that – PLAN. There are various factors you need to keep in mind.
– Age Level – Gender – Level of Play – Injuries
– Time Allotted – Space – Number of Players – Equipment
– Topic – Mental State of the Team – What Point the Team is in the Season
– What the Team just did and what the Team has Coming Up (Rest/Recovery/Work Load)

There are more factors to consider as well when designing your session. However, these are some of the important ones to consider.

So, this gets us to the Twitter post I referred to earlier. I put down some notes for coaches to consider when running their session. Now that you have the plan in place, it is time to execute that plan. Here is what I posted:

“Coaches…Remember this when teaching:
– Make sure the players know what is expected of them
– Give the players ideas to help solve problems
– Make sure you have given the players the technical foundation to perform the activity
– Allow them to fail so the players can learn from it
– Paint the picture for the players
– Challenge the players
– Make the activity foster a passion for the game
– Evaluate throughout the activity and after for ways to improve the players, improve the activity, and improve as a coach.”

So, no matter if you coach the youngest players in your club, or the senior level players, it is important to keep these ideas in mind when you are teaching. Our role is to make the players better and to help the players enjoy their experience. Plan your session ahead of time. Think about what your goal for the session is going to be. Then execute that plan. Seize the moment and make the most of every moment with your players. And enjoy the ride!