Coaching a kids football team

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Don Barzini

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So my eldest boy (5 years old) started football training a few months back. These sessions were run by a couple of the guys associated with the club. But now is the time to hand the team over to a group of "willing" dads. And yes, I've been roped in!

We've got nigh on 30 kids and just have to run training sessions for the next few months, but then as of March we have to split the kids into individual teams and we start organising friendly 5-a-side games against other clubs.

Bit nervous about it, as I've never done any kids coaching before. But the other "volunteers" are in the same boat so I'm sure we'll muddle through it somehow and have great fun! Looking forward to it really.

I'm fully anticipating that the hardest thing about it all will not be dealing with the kids, but with the parents - both from our side and the sides we play against!

Anyone else do/done this sort of thing? Any tips or amusing/entertaining stories to share?
 

Doon frae Troon

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I taught my grandson to be two footed at that age.

Simple walking drill, the length of the pitch by passing the football back and forward by only using your 'wrong' foot.
You can do this with a line of youngsters [if you have the patience].

Simple tip......don't get involved selecting the teams.
 

pbrown7582

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google "the hive learning" and join the England DNA foundation phase group its a really good resource.

Get on a FA level 1 course asap.

let the children have fun with a ball as much as possible and try to keep games in training to the 5 a side you'll play.

i would advocate training as a group and just sorting the match squads week by week, you can put those of similar ability together in training to test each other.

Explain to other parents what your plans are and keep them onside but try and avoid them coaching as it will most likely contadict what youve asked little johnny to do and the poor lad will be confusion

Enjoy the ride it will be full of ups and downs!
 

Beezerk

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My over 40s team manager also runs a youth team, I helped him do some scouting at trials once and it does look good fun but a lot of hard work.
Good luck with it and get yer coaching badges done as already said.
 

Crazyface

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Please please do NOT encourage any player who launches the ball down the pitch just to get rid. You've got massive responsibility to make sure they know how to pass the ball correctly. Teach pass and move as soon as possible. Try and get the players to play in ALL the positions on the pitch.

Good Luck. You'll need it with the parents.
 

GB72

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My brother did the same with his kids rugby team. Coached them all the way up to under 13s I think. He had no experience and not only had to coach them but also the coaches were expected to ref in local tournaments. He really enjoyed it except for dealing with some parents (why was my kid not picked, why did he not play more, why is everyone getting a game when some are not very good, that sort of thing).
 

Dan2501

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Tactics, tactics, tactics. Are you going to play a gegenpress, a tiki-taka, or a classic 4-4-2. If you're going 4-4-2 - will you use it with inverted wing-backs? or a central mezzala? All these vital decisions can be made after the first training sessions - then you'll know if you have the players to fit into the positions you're looking to use. If not, you need to go to the market. How's your scouting network? Are you going to be using a director of football? If so, how involved is he going to be in the transfer dealings? You don't want to give a DOF too much free reign if he doesn't have a good eye for CA and PA.

Then it's all about inspiration and succinctly briefing your players on tactics and the opposition before each game. It's a tough gig, but with the right prep you'll be able to build a title winning side. Finally - the most important thing to remember is this classic management quote: COME ON GUYS - IF YOU WANT TO BE THE BEST TEAM YOU NEED TO SCORE THE F'ING GOALS - Guardiola, 2017.

........I think I've been playing too much Football Manager and watching too much All or Nothing :D
 

Lord Tyrion

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As mentioned, do your coaching badges asap. Keep it fun. After going through junior rugby and football, boy did I pay my dues, I had a catchphrase that I threatened to put on a banner and raise at regular times, "Don't forget they are kids". Too many do and it is sad to see. Remember that phrase at all times, it helps.

With regards to the parents, explain to them what you are trying to do at the beginning of the season. Are you trying to win the league and go unbeaten, have fun and learn how to play? Two different situations. The answer at this stage is the latter and that means you will lose some matches, good players will miss games the same as everyone else etc. Tell the parents this at the beginning and if they don't agree with it then they need to leave and find another club. An honest approach at the start takes a lot of pressure and grief away.
 

pokerjoke

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Lol all the posts slating parents and the boys are 5 years of age.
We have 28 boys and are by far the most popular team for the amount of players and we only have 2 teams.
The boys are now in the u12 age group when they started they were u8.
Yes we have lost and gained players but only 1 from parents of a boy that wanted to play every game.
We never and I promise you have had a parent who thinks he knows more than the 6 coaches we've had.
We have a lovely set of parents and they really respect the coaches.
Our discipline is firm but fair and the boys hardly ever play up although you get boisterous ones on occasions.
We now play 9 a side and most weeks we get 12 or 13 and we give all some playing time,yes they don't like being substituted but we are fair with game time so soon understand.
Enjoy it,its supposed to be fun,make it fun especially at 5
 

Piece

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I was similar to the OP several years ago, in that my eldest was 6 and joined our local football team. I put myself forward as I believed I could really help. Fast forward and I'm a FA qualified coach, managing the U11s. We have 40+ in our age group, making 4 teams.

First off, it is great that you and the other Dads are volunteering. It does take some commitment and bravery to get involved! If you can, get yourself and the others on the FA coaching (Level 1) course. I don't know if your club can finance it, so this may affect what you do. The course is great as it really tells you about roots coaching, drills and aspect of training you wouldn't think of, such as how to convert your knowledge of football and apply it to individuals and groups. Also you learn about safeguarding and health & safety - very important. If you can't get on the course, go to FA website and Youtube, searching for kids FA coaching videos. Structure and planning is key to well run group. Don't rely on winging it!

Our parents are great but you may have some parents think their Jonny is the next Messi and should play all the time. Biggest thing I find is that most of the kids want to play as a striker and/or play with their mates. When it comes to teams, you'll need to figure what's best. Playing 4 strikers in a team of 5 doesn't usually work! Most of the parent problems come from the opposition in our area! They've watching TV and played a bit of parks football and they think they are Pep. They clearly haven't seen the FA Respect videos....something I would encourage your parents to do.

I try to teach them that the best footballers aren't those that beat 4 people and get tackled. The best ones are who play as team and see the football 'picture' by being positionally correct and picking the right pass. Yes, they will make mistakes, but praise them when they are trying to do the right thing and they will develop quicker. I would encourage them to be aware of positionally where they should be at a given time on the field, as you know that kids just follow the ball. Teams that realise this earlier play better quickly and use the ball better. Having good sized playing space help - nothing worse that having 30 kids in a tiny space....nothing will be learnt!

You will see that kids develop at different rates. Some initially could be brilliant, then fall away years later, and also those that start slowly, suddenly become really good.

Make sure that kids get equal time on the pitch and use your eye to see what position will suit the player. At that age, all kids want to do is play with the ball, so training should be about ball work.

Finally it is about enjoyment, both you and the kids. Kids enjoy it more when they win, so plan to win with enjoyment, NOT win at all costs. Coaching from you and encouragement from the parents should NEVER be negative or aggressive. If the kids hear this, they will be apprehensive and will feel pressurised. They can't play their best and won't enjoy it as they aren't relaxed.

I love it! Starts again tonight for me!
 

DRW

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Make it fun, ensure all the kids get a proper go on the pitch however good or bad they are. Almost all of them like to play matches.

Its is not all about the winning, see it from the kids point of view, they all want to play and have fun.
 
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Not 100% sure but I think that if the kids participate in any matches or in leagues under the control of the FA (which just about all of them are) the coaches need to have DBS certificates
 

pbrown7582

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Lol all the posts slating parents and the boys are 5 years of age.
We have 28 boys and are by far the most popular team for the amount of players and we only have 2 teams.
The boys are now in the u12 age group when they started they were u8.
Yes we have lost and gained players but only 1 from parents of a boy that wanted to play every game.
We never and I promise you have had a parent who thinks he knows more than the 6 coaches we've had.
We have a lovely set of parents and they really respect the coaches.
Our discipline is firm but fair and the boys hardly ever play up although you get boisterous ones on occasions.
We now play 9 a side and most weeks we get 12 or 13 and we give all some playing time,yes they don't like being substituted but we are fair with game time so soon understand.
Enjoy it,its supposed to be fun,make it fun especially at 5

i can assure you you are very lucky to have no hassles with parents, the ones who think little jonny is the next Messi or Ronaldo are by far the worst living the failed aspirations through the kids
 
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Don Barzini

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Some good replies/advice here, thanks all.

Yes, I'm definitely on board with the whole "make it fun, it's not about winning, give everybody a go" approach. We were told as much anyway by the more experienced coach when he handed over to us. Hopefully, we're looking at eventually having 7 kids per "squad" for the 5-a-side matches. They play 40 minute games of 4 periods of ten minutes each with rolling subs permitted. So our general approach will likely be to try and give everybody equal playing time and get the kids to rotate around positions so they all have equal chance.

And yes, as some have pointed out, DBS checks are needed (mine is going through now) and the club are also keen for us to do the FA coaching level 1 qualification.
 

Marshy77

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Keep it fun. Google the football fundamentals and go from there. Loads of information out there but keep it proper basic. They'll cry, they'll laugh and they'll mess about.
 
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