Coaching problems and questions

Hey everyone - over the next few months we're recording plenty of Coachcast episodes (our official coaching podcast), and we'd love your help!

Do you have any coaching problems that need solving?

Perhaps just a few quick questions you'd like to ask?

Or, on reflection, are there any questions you would've liked to have known the answers to when you first started coaching?

With that last one, you may have the answers now, but those initial questions could provide some essential top tips for people starting their coaching journey.

If you do, it would be great if you could list them all in this thread! We will then look to use some of them on our podcast to see if our guests can help.

Please note: we'd love to see loads of replies to this, but please only put them in here if you're happy for us to use them on Coachcast and our other channels.

Thank you!

  • One from me - we are u12 football next season.  In terms of decision making we have some players whose default is to control and pass the ball (even when a dribble may be more appropriate) and others who will default to dribble mode and try to take it past 3 players when a quick 0ne-two would see them through on goal.

    Any thoughts on how to get each of these sets of players to start thinking about the appropriate decision to pass/dribble rather than automatically hit their default?



  • Great question, Kev - we'll put this to one of our guests on Tuesday and will get an answer for you posted here as soon as possible!

  • Thanks for the question Kev. I currently work with U12's and have similar questions. 

    Have added a couple of points below that I consider when planning and designing practices; 

    - How well do I understand and know my players? Why are they defaulting to this?

    - How much will the practice encourage players to make decisions? What constraints/ restrictions can I apply to the player or practice to encourage players to make more decisions.

    Think of the Practice spectrum- Unopposed/ Interference/ Overload/ Match up. The closer you get to the overload/ match up end of the spectrum the more decisions the players will be asked to make. 

    Happy to keep the conversation going. 

    Hope its a useful start.



  • Kevin, thanks for interacting with this forum and your question is a good one. What we have to understand as coaches is that permanent changes in behaviour takes a long time (for some players) so patience is needed. The decision making part of football is the most difficult part and that is what usually sets the best players apart from the rest. A good place to start is to begin to recognise and give your attention to those players who do try to release the ball at the "right time" or dribble at the most effective time. Over time, this will begin to make other players think, if I want a well done or if I want the coach's attention then I have to start taking some slightly different decisions. This approach will create a safe and secure environment based on support and encouragement in the hope that players will respond appropriately. Asking the players to reflect on the outcomes of their decisions is also useful and will help them develop an internal feedback system so that eventually they won't need you as much because they will begin to acknowledge whether the decision they made was an effective one or not. It's a long process but with the right approach we can build trust with the players at the same time that we help them improve their decision making. Good luck. Pete 

  • I have a team of u10's next season and there is real mixed ability.  Defensively they are really sound but having lost our best player to the academy system this off season, its really clear how the relied on him to create and score the vast majority of the teams chances.

    Im encouraging all to shoot and 'try something' but its not really working at the moment.  Some of them need to be a bit more greedy but id appreciate some thoughts on how to get the team to try more in front of goal after a player has left.

  • Thanks for the great question, Matthew!

    Other coaches may well jump in and answer this, but we'll definitely put this to the guest on our next show (on Monday) and get an answer posted in here for you.

  • Hi Matt,

    Jamie did indeed put your question to me on the podcast recording yesterday (which was my debut in podcasting). However I have attempted to summarise the answer below as it may be a few weeks before the podcast goes live...

    - Whilst the players (and yourself) may see it as a loss to have your strongest player move onto an academy, I would see it as (a) a feather in your cap that you have helped a player to get to academy level and (b) this now presents a greater opportunity for other players to get on the ball and affect the game.


    - LANGUAGE: Something as simple as the use of positive terminology you use as the coach when players are approaching the goal / shooting territory i.e. be brave, back yourself, shoot with purpose, find the corners.

    -  TARGETS: To help the players recognise areas of the goal where they might increase their chances of scoring a goal, place targets in the goal and offer bonus points i.e. flat cones in the corner, tie bibs from the cross bar.

    - POINTS: Most goals are scored from within the penalty box, so to incentivise players getting into the box & playing forward with purpose, introduce a scoring system in games i.e. score within the penalty box = 3 points, score from outside the penalty box = 1 point (this discourages shooting from distance where the chances of scoring are slimmer). Add to this double points for an assist i.e. if you connect and combine with a mate (give & go) and you score within the penalty box = 6 points, from outside = 2 points. What this scoring system hopefully does is encourages players to think about 'how' and 'when' they enter the penalty box to help their team create a chance to score.

    - LESS PLAYERS, MORE PRACTICES: During your sessions create lots of chances for them to rehearse shooting by working in small number practices. I.e if you have 10 players, split group into 5 pairs. Cone out a small grid each, where they can practice passing, dribbling and shooting into a goal / target (use cones for the goals, ideally facing a fence so that ball does not travel to far). Progress this onto 1v1, 2v2, 3v3. If you find that not many shots are taking place, play 3v1, 3v2, 3v3 and build up to it with a defender entering the practice every 20 seconds (or in between each ball). Rotate defending team.

    Hopefully these explanations are useful in giving you some ideas, I would prefer to paint you a picture but am limited on here - there is however plenty of ideas on The Boot Room, here is an example -

    Matt :-)