You can ensure that your players get the most out of their football learning experience if they respect you as a coach and the position that your job holds.
Young people respond well to discipline and authority and thrive in an environment in which the rules are clear, concise and fair. They also have a higher level of enjoyment when they are part of the learning process themselves.
As part of the fun element of having rules, young footballers enjoy the competition in training with both drills and chores. Seeing who can pick up the most cones at the end of the session is an enjoyable way to clear up, and the children have fun doing an obviously mundane task.
Once you as a coach have gained some respect, you should be able to speak to the children having 100% of their attention. However this isn’t the easiest thing on the training ground because there are often many distractions competing with you for their interest.
To get you message across the players need to listen to you, understanding and taking in what you are telling them. This could be about the training session, or an important message about tactics for the next match.
You must speak to the players in a normal soft voice. You don’t need to shout or bark your points out, doing this will grab their immediate attention, though just as quickly the players will turn-off. Also of you speak loudly the overall noise level around you will increase too, and you will end up competing with the general background noise generated by the players.
Speak in a normal voice, and inflect phrases rather than raise your voice. If you find those around you are still not paying attention, be silent until you have their full focus. You will be surprised how quickly the players’ attention turns back to you if you are silent.
When you are talking to the players try to minimise distractions around them.
If possible hold you talks in the changing rooms, though always have another adult in the room for child protection reasons.
If you can’t hold your talk in the changing rooms, make sure the players are not looking towards other footballers or parents, who will very quickly and easily grab their attention. Also make sure the players are not looking into the sun behind your head. The players will soon look away if they are constantly staring into sunlight; face the sun yourself.
Don’t talk for too long and don’t say too much which over complicates the message. Stick to just a few points and repeat them until they all understand.
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