Coaching Basics

Utilize the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Short and Simple) when introducing new skills;

  • Give short, effective demonstrations while briefly explaining the new skill or concept;
  • Keep coaching sessions short, clear and well-planned;
  • Be positive – focus on what the player does correctly (“catch them being good”);
  • Make the sessions meaningful, fun, challenging and exciting,
  • No static line drills! Play fun, soccer-like games instead.
  • Don’t play “elimination games” – the players most in need of improvement and repetitions are usually the first to be eliminated;
  • Don’t play large sided games for more than 10 minutes per hour. In 8 v 8 or 10 v 10 etc, players don’t get enough touches on the ball, the weaker players tend to get the fewest touches and bad habits can be reinforced because players tend to do the same things they have always done.


  • Find out what the children expect to get out of sport with you.
  • Be firm, fair and organized.
  • Give credit where it is due and give help where it is needed.
  • Be consistent.
  • Provide learning experiences: teach.
  • Make practice and competition fun; it needn’t be silly.
  • Recognize the value of friendships between children.
  • Show your approval whenever you can.
  • Listen to the children
  • Relax and enjoy yourself with the kids.
  • Emphasize learning skill, not competing.
  • Reward children for effort.
  • Help children over the realization that they might not have the ability of others.
  • Build confidence by being positive.
  • Reduce competitive expectations.
  • Help those who do not want to compete.
  • Remember that mistakes are part of learning.

Courtesy of the Sport Alliance of Canada, with excerpts from an article on the Basics of Coaching Sports for Children.