09 Nov Revealed: How to Become a Better Football Coach
Coaching football, whether at a local level or on a larger stage, can be an incredibly rewarding and electrifying experience. It is also something that you need to work at in order to improve your skills and better serve the players you work with.
If you want to learn how to become a better football coach, there are several areas in which significant developments can be made. While each coach will need to go on their own journey of self-improvement, here are a few of the most impactful steps you can take to get started.
This is perhaps the most challenging part of the process, but if you want to become a better football coach, you need to be honest about where your weaknesses lie, rather than focusing on your strengths.
One of the great qualities of a football coach should be an ability to constantly appraise your own performance, not just that of your players. You need to recognise when you are the weak link in the chain and ensure that you are honest with yourself about what amendments might be necessary.
If you do not feel able to adequately explore your limitations as a coach, or do not believe that there are any glaring omissions from your arsenal of skills, then it makes sense to ask an outsider to assess you. The players might have a few ideas, of course, but politeness and respect may prevent them from giving a genuine opinion, especially if it is a negative one.
When it comes to the kinds of weaknesses that you might need to work on, a lot may originate from the coaching style you adopt. This is often linked to your personality. You might adopt a hands-on style that involves a lot of micromanagement and tinkering, which could be perceived as overreaching and authoritative. You might spend more time developing tactics and be less involved in dealing with players as individuals, which might come across as unapproachable aloofness.
A little later on we will cover the importance of getting involved with workshops aimed at football coaches. These tend to provide the perfect opportunity for constructive criticism to be accrued, so take advantage of them where possible and let others assist in the process of empowerment. Seeing yourself from the perspective of an outsider will give you insights that would otherwise be overlooked.
Listen to your Players
It may be tempting to forge ahead with your own specific coaching strategy and ignore the concerns or complaints of players, especially if you have a strong conviction about your current coaching style. Unfortunately, you will only be able to become a better football coach if you open the floor to debate, become more flexible in your thinking and actually listen to what players have to say.
It is important to make sure that players feel comfortable approaching you if they have a problem. This does not strictly have to involve any issues they have with the coaching itself; it could also cover other complications that they are facing, whether within the team or in their personal lives.
Listening to players is amongst the most important qualities of a football coach since it demonstrates compassion and consideration while also helping you to make sure that the team is happier and more unified as a result.
On the other hand, if you allow issues to fester and resentment to go unresolved, then this could all explode further down the line and require significantly more legwork to remedy.
An ability to listen to others and empathise with them on a variety of concerns is an often undervalued skill, especially in the world of sport. For football coaches that want to improve, working on this facet of their professional lives could be invaluable.
In some cases, improving your listening skills will also involve learning to be patient. Sometimes others will not be able to express themselves clearly, or may tell you things that you do not want to hear. A good football coach will not just hear players out when they want to talk; they will take the time to deliver a considered response, rather than flying off the handle at the drop of a hat.
Getting expert advice on how to become a better football teacher will be necessary for anyone who believes that their listening skills are a shortcoming.
Try New Drills
The desire to stick to what you know and keep pursuing a training regimen that worked at one point in the past can be strong. In reality, it is generally better to keep things fresh and mix up your coaching sessions with new drills, rather than getting stuck in a rut with the same format week after week.
This has benefited from a performance perspective since it will help prepare the team for a wider variety of potential scenarios that could crop up in an actual game. It will help them think on their feet, ensure that they can play more creatively and also help reinforce the idea that teamwork is more important than individual glory.
The other advantage of trying new drills is that it will keep the players interested and engaged, enhancing their mental prowess, improving morale and keeping their mind on the task at hand, rather than inviting boredom to blossom.
There are plenty of resources available for football coaches that are looking for new drills to experiment with during training sessions. As such, there is no excuse for failing to push the envelope and allowing things to become stagnant.
Getting more involved in the wider coaching community is helpful in this respect since you can talk to others to find out what works and what doesn’t. There are definitely some coaching fads that rise quickly and fall out of favour just as rapidly, so communicating will help you avoid wasting time on dodgy drills while also highlighting effective ones.
Concentrate on Fitness
You can have all the tactical talent in the world, but unless your players are able to keep up with the pace of a competitive game, all of your strategising will have been for nought.
This is where fitness comes into the equation; as a coach, it is part of your job to ensure that everyone on the team is able to run rings around the competition and stay focused for 90 minutes.
As mentioned earlier, embracing new drills can help with this. Being able to control the ball and conduct set pieces effectively is only relevant if players can also master their physical fitness.
For many coaches, this also means taking diet into account when formulating a plan of action that players need to follow. This may well be an area in which you have less experience and knowledge than others. Making a decision to tackle this proactively, rather than letting it slide and thus sacrificing the fitness of your team, is sensible.
This also ties into the idea of admitting any weaknesses you might have and choosing to address them, rather than pushing them under the rug and hoping for the best. Advice on fitness, as with other aspects of football coaching, is evolving and changing all the time. Seek guidance where you need it and you will be on the right track.
Then there is the question of discipline. Discipline is just as important on the pitch as off it, which puts pressure on players in a variety of ways. Motivating them to achieve their fitness goals and help the entire team, as a result, can be easier if you practice what you preach. Be prepared to put yourself through the same hardships and trials that they suffer in order to show that you have conviction in your methods.
Participate in Workshops
The wonderful thing about learning how to become a better football teacher in the age of the internet is that there are so many ways to improve your skills and absorb lessons from others in the field. A wealth of opportunities to identify weaknesses, pick up the latest advice on fitness and communicate with the wider coaching community are available online.
These digital resources can be further enhanced through participation in practical workshops, which will allow you to learn about the qualities of a football coach that matter most and see how they can be developed and expressed in a supportive environment.
Workshops on coaching are run nationally and can be just as useful for newcomers as for those who have a lot of experience of working with football teams. There are different courses to consider and qualifications to earn, so do a little research to make sure you get the most appropriate support.
Perhaps most crucially of all, a coach workshop will let you stay up to date with the developments and trends that are shaping coaching. The alternative is falling behind and failing to do your best for your team because you are out of the loop on important issues.