Soccer Coaching Questions and Answers Part II

Soccer Coaching Questions and Answers Part Two

From time to time we want to share questions from coaches within our community to help share knowledge and learning techniques.

Some of our recent soccer coaching questions are shown and answered in bold below:


One area of struggle I’m facing is getting a couple of good players to be able to handle disappointments. They get so frustrated when it’s not going well and start blaming others players instead of encouraging. Appreciate they are still very young at u9’s.

Any help would be appreciated…

Great question! Support is definitely a key ingredient of team work. I’m aware from experience that a blame culture can spread much quicker than a positive, supportive one. To correct this, I took it back to basics:

At the end of practice during a session review I sat all the players down and sat with them in a circle, the player holding the soccer ball is the only one allowed to talk, I lead by example and start off by complimenting one player in the group; ‘Tim, I thought you played really well today especially when you blocked that shot’, then Tim takes the ball and follows me lead. This will get easier for players after a few times of trying. It’s a great little end of session confidence boost but make sure to round up by explaining why we do these things, positivity and encouragement breeds more positivity, can your players take this to the field with them? You’re looking for leaders even at a young age, how would you feel if a player helped you up after you missed a shot and said ‘don’t worry you’ll get the next one’? Encouraged I’m sure! Positive professional role models to look up to are great as players look to emulate their heroes. 

Get players to start helping each other up if they fall down, helping an opponent up, setting the right example to their team mates. Offer positive encouragement when you see it happen and allow time for your new culture to develop. 


I coach an Adult team and we concede many goals from set pieces, do you have any corrective advice? 

Set pieces work best by getting the basics right:

– Try to read the type of delivery before it is taken; is it a free kick? Left or right footer? A corner? Is the player shaping to play an in swinging corner or out swinger?

– the objective is to get to the ball first.

– The goalkeeper should be a voice of authority, players need to be structurally organized and focused throughout.

– if the ball clears the defender in front of you, you’re responsible for winning it, be alert.

– find an opposite number, an opponent to focus on, and mark them at all times.

– watch both the delivery and player you’re responsible for marking, be alert to movement of either.

– have a player stand on either post (usually only applies on corner kicks) to help prevent tap ins and shorten the target area.

– tall players mark tall players.

– watch for late runs into the box. Make sure all players have a player to mark.

– don’t get caught ball watching. Be alert to the second ball.

I hope this basic set of rules gives your some chance to address the issues in hand. Practice set pieces during training to work on organization and discipline.


The focus and attitude of my players. I coach a U11 team who lose focus quickly during training and start messing around. Can you help?

Thanks for the question, it’s a big frustration when players are disruptive, calling on personal experience, it almost feels like a chain reaction, one player starts and the rest slowly follow, here’s a couple of key things to remember:

Keep activities as engaging and exciting as possible; limit lines and waiting time, these moments where players lose concentration are opportunities to mess around and distract others.

Keep coaching points to a minimum, I’m talking less than 15 seconds between stopping an activity, making your corrections and getting the game moving again. Where possible, give coaching points to individuals while a session is still going.

Get players to help but don’t make it a chore; ” who can pick up the most cones and bring them to me?” Suddenly, clearing the area so you can set up the next activity is a challenge, pick the player who is causing the most trouble and ask for their help to set up the next game, this sounds more like a reward than a punishment, it also keeps them engaged. 

Encourage teamwork and problem solving, but make sure these problems are incrementally achievable so players don’t get disheartened and lose interest. 

Reward good behavior! Make a point of mentioning this in front of the whole group.

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