Volunteering to coach your kid’s soccer team might seem like a wonderful way to bond, to get some exercise, and to be involved in your community. However, suppose your grasp on the sport is tentative at best, and trying to find a coaching clinic only leads to the sports medicine center. You may soon be feeling you’ve signed your own death warrant. Not to worry, coach! These sites are here to help you become the motivational and strategic wizard you knew you were meant to be. I can’t guarantee that your team will win the regional championships, but if you’re feeling lost, these sites will help you find your footing. And hey, even if you’re not ready or able to coach kids soccer, these sites will inspire you to get outside and kick the ball around with your kids.
Coaching Soccer 101
Learn to Think and Talk Like a Coach
Coaching Soccer 101 is aptly named. The eye immediately lands on these two ways to avoid common coaching mistakes: avoid the three L’s (lines, laps, and lectures), and always use the sandwich method (complement/correct/complement). There is a comprehensive soccer glossary that will have you talking the talk, a list of the rules with a link to FIFA’s official rules, a field diagram complete with dimensions, and a printable playmaker diagram and practice outline. There is also a huge grab bag of inspirational quotes that’ll have you sounding coachy in no time. Finally, you can access a huge selection of drills and activities, fully diagrammed and explained in layman’s terms.
Soccer Help offers a cursory guide for those new to coaching youth soccer, along with lots of tips. Aesthetically, this site is a real horror to look at, and it can take a few clicks to get where you’re going, but the information is worth a squint and a scroll. There are lots of videos of Coach Doug’s methods that will help you develop your own approach. There is also some very helpful information that is overlooked on other sites, like ideas for team names and cheers, responding to injuries, encouraging good sportsmanship, and handling disruptive parents at games. Any problem you might encounter as a coach, especially on game day, seems to be covered here.
Coaching Youth Soccer for Success
Communication Is Key
Coaching Youth Soccer for Success emphasizes skill and sportsmanship equally. Like most of the coaching sites (or really any website), ultimately they’re trying to sell you something. In this case it’s books and equipment to ensure your success. Buy it if you want the extra edge, but the information you can get for free here is a fine place to start. Better than fine, actually, as you get an outline of realistic expectation for a new team, lots of drills and formations, and tips on how to communicate quickly and clearly. This last skill will save the game time after time. And finally there are a handful of videos stashed here and there. Look under “soccer skills” to find a video tutorial on how to juggle the soccer ball with your feet, a practice technique unmatched for developing control. Challenge your team members to hone this skill as it can be done almost anywhere and it looks cool!
Technique Plus Teamwork
Active.com is a hub of all things sporty, but their guide to coaching youth soccer is filled with in-depth articles designed to improve the game for you, your team, and the parents. With tips on increasing practice productivity, building technique and teamwork, and training better goalies, this site is not one to miss. Do be cautious about clicking around on this page though, it’s easy to plunge into irrelevance (assuming you’re not planning to go to British Columbia to buy gear). If you have the time, though, explore beyond the articles. You may discover there’s soccer camp taking place near you.
Coaching Youth Soccer
The Little Things Make All the Difference
Coaching Youth Soccer has tons and tons of coaching tips downloadable as podcasts, or offered episode-by episode on the site’s home page. Why not stock up your Mp3 player with Koach Karl’s 36 years of youth soccer coaching wisdom? You’ll find information both sophisticated (reading the referee’s hand signals) and basic (why the right socks make all the difference). If you’re thinking your inbox is looking a little spare, you can sign up for free weekly tips to improve your coaching skills and raise your team’s scores. There are also plenty of good training videos, a blog with a nearly endless archive of posts, and links to places you can buy gear.
Drills by Skill
While SoccerXpert may look Spartan, don’t pass this wallflower by. This site is unlike the others in that its myriad drills are organized by age, and honestly, you don’t want to see the eye-rolling that will ensue if you set your eleven-year-olds to work on rudimentary “baby drills.” Drills are also broken down by skill, so if you need your team to work on heading, or if passing is your team’s weakness, you can navigate right to the drills you need. This site also bears the distinction of being the only one to offer information on nutrition for soccer players. The American Dietetic Association has compiled a guide to help prevent fatigue and dehydration, as well as advice on what to eat and drink before, during and after the game. Finally, techies rejoice, SoccerXpert features both a Twitter feed and a “drill gadget:” a few lines of code you can add to your own team’s website to get all of SoccerXperts drills in a dynamically updating window.