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Do you have a plan or routine when it comes to a match day? Having a matchday routine with some flexibility will help you as a coach, support players' development and keep parents in check.
Here are some top tips to consider when planning your match day.
Consider sending details out to parents on a group WhatsApp or Email, outlining some of the following things:
I see some coaches trying to overcomplicate warm-ups, they deliver different activities before each game, which can result in the players spending a lot of time trying to figure out the drill and less time on the ball.
My advice is, keep it simple, deliver warm-ups which allow lots of touches on the ball, this could be a small possession practice, starting unopposed and gradually adding in opposition. Depending on the age group you could finish with position specific work or allow players some individual time.
Before the game try and introduce yourself to the referee, when doing this it develops a level of respect, you can exchange names, and understand what the boundaries are.
You can also discuss how the referee can support your players on the pitch. For example, if you are working with young players, you can ask them to be understanding around throw-ins and instead of calling a ‘foul throw’ on the first attempt, demonstrating to players and giving them a second attempt.
Remember the referees are there to do a job, just like we are as coaches, it’s easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment but if we’re asking players and parents to be respectful; we’ve got to make sure that we also role modelling this behaviour.
I watched many games where I’ve seen substitutes standing on the side freezing cold, not moving around and looking really disengaged. Try to be creative in what you do with the players, some things you could consider are:
Setting up a little one 1v1 or 2v2 on the side of the pitch, this will allow players to play a different format of the game, get lots of touches on the ball and prepare them for when they get on the pitch. Also, a great way to develop relationships with the opposition.
Ask the players to be ‘mini coaches’ and challenge them to observe the game and make notes to share at half time and full time. Link the challenge back to your overall process points.
This will not only help with their long-term development but keep them engaged and get them ready for when it’s their time to shine.
The biggest tip I can give on team talks is... keep it short and keep it simple.
Over the years I’ve seen coaches give so much information that players switch off within a couple of minutes
I always start team talks by asking players ‘what do you think?’ ‘How do you feel?’ and giving them 2-3 minutes to share their thoughts. Whilst acknowledging their thoughts, I then share mine, linking it back to the key process points. I know it’s tempting to try and fix other things but giving too much information can hinder their long-term development.
If you're brave enough, try and deliver your post-match team-talk in front of parents.
So, I challenge you to try and keep matchdays a little more consistent, engage players on and off the pitch, include parents where possible, communicate with the referee and keep things simple.
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