It's all about the players development right? But what about the soccer coaches training? Coaches need to learn, grow and develop just like any player on the team does and this should be done in all types of different ways. Whether it is at home, on the pitch or in the community coaches need to be constantly learning new ways of doing things to get the best out of their respective teams. Going to courses, conferences and getting licenses help with all the on field stuff but what about off the pitch? Team culture, dissecting video, public speaking and the list goes on and on, if you're an aspiring coach find out below all the different ways you can grow yourself to be among the best.
Just when you feel like you've got it all done you then realize that a soccer coaches training and learning is never done. Just as you figure out one system you now need to know the one that can counter it, and once you've figured out a set piece you need to learn another to disguise it. Coaching is a never ending circle of move and counter move, start playing some chess in your spare time and coaching will start to become clearer to you, did I say clearer? I meant more complicated, enjoy Pep!
1. Review Your Team Game Tape & Make Adjustments - I'm sure all of you do this already but review your teams game tape then pick out certain moments where you would have made a personnel or formation adjustment. This is a great way to be able to spot changes we should have made that we can then improve upon in future games. Reflecting upon previous matches is some of the best soccer coaches training we can do to elevate our tactical minds.
2. Watch A Pro Match A Make Changes - The next time you watch an EPL or Champions League match put yourself in the coaches shoes of either team and as the game develops think about what changes you would make if you were the coach of the team. You do this throughout the match and at half time as well and see how your adjustments compare to that of the actual coach. Yes the actual coach has more inside information but it's still a good exercise to do based on what you see from the opponents quality, strategy, formation and personnel.
3. Review Pro Matches - After the matches on TV are done try and record them and rewatch all the adjustments the coach made and why they chose the personnel and set up that they did. You can then decide what you would have done in that exact situation so if a similar one comes up during one of your matches you've already experienced the tactical adjustment once before.
4. Listen To Podcasts & Videos - The power of the internet has changed coaching education and how soccer coaches training takes place on a daily basis. There are some fantastic podcasts such as the Modern Soccer Coach and Coaches Voice you can tune into along with tactical analysis videos on youtube you can watch for hours on end.
5. Read! - Reading books and articles online never goes out of style so make sure you become a bookworm when it comes to gathering new information about your craft. Chances are there is a coach out there that has experienced whatever situation you find yourself in so never stop reading and you will become a fountain of knowledge about the game in no time. Whether it's philosophical ideas or other soccer coaches training sessions you always have some valuable take aways from any soccer book you open up.
1. Attending Conferences - Going to different conferences not only gives you a wide range of information on different coaching topics but it's also a great way to connect with the soccer community and build your coaching network. Coaches conferences have terrific on field topics on attack, defence, set pieces, transition and so much more. They also have great off field topics around team culture, recruiting, video analysis and much more, you will definitely get a lot out of conferences so attend as many as you can, soccer coaches training events like these are fun and informative.
2. Getting Your Licenses - This one may go without say but is still worth mentioning, you want to build up your credibility as a coach by getting as many licensees as you can. While you're there you will find that not only will you learn so much from other great coaches but you'll also build a great network of other colleagues in the coaching world.
3. Shadowing Other Coaches - If you have a break in your season one of the most valuable things you can do is go shadow another coach in their environment and learn from them. If possible try and shadow a coach at a level above you or at least at your level, if you're a college coach try and go shadow a pro coach, if you're a pro coach go and shadow another pro coach to see if you can pick up a couple things from them. These experiences are some of the best things you can do to view your environment in a different light and steal some ideas and another high level soccer coaches training session.
4. Guest Coaching - Reach out to a club or college team and ask if you can run a session for the team. Not only will this force you to come extra prepared to run a session but it will also allow you to recruit and build relationships with other teams and players. Above all else you will grow as a coach trying to get the best out of a group you know nothing about.
5. Getting A Test Team - What I mean by this is see if you can get a club team on the side where you can just try crazy ideas and nobody really cares if you win or lose games. Everyone is afraid to try new things because result in a mistake which could lead to a loss so get a young club team where you can try crazy formations, set pieces and all types of things where there are no repercussions.
1. Film Practice & Review Yourself - If you haven't tried filming your own practice you really need to give this one a try. Not only will you be able to critically analyze all the things you did well and poorly but you'll be able to hear your voice, see your mannerisms and get a good sense of your overall command over practice. We all ask our players to review tape, why aren't you doing it with yourself? You wont believe some of the things you will catch that you will shake your head at and can't believe you do, the beauty is you will learn from it and become a better coach for it, a soccer coaches training and development starts be assessing yourself.
2. Switch Roles - Every once in awhile let your assistant coach run the session and you assist him. You will find this incredibly beneficial not only for their development as a coach but yours as well. A few things happen when you switch roles, first you see the team dynamic from their point of view and you learn how to better support and involve them after participating in a practice in their shoes. You will also probably find you can do more coaching because you don't have to worry about the score, set up and everything running smoothly, all you have to do is sit back and coach in players ears whenever you feel it is necessary. Developing your own soccer coaches training habits on your staff will pay off in the long run for your team and their future aspirations.
3. Try New Things - The worst thing we can do as coaches is get complacent and keep doing the same things over and over again because were too scared or lazy to try new things. Whether it's a tactic, formation change, strategy or tweak to a drill constantly chopping and changing will produce great dividends in the future. Pick up a new high press system from Liverpool and try it with your team, you might be sitting on a gold mine and not even know it. There is no better way to grow your arsenal of tactical cards you can play throughout a match then by trying new things over the years and having several different ways you can go throughout a match, don't be that old coach that never tried anything and has no solutions for his team at half time.
4. Bring In A Guest Coach - Try learning from others but with your own players by brining in a fresh voice and invite a quality guest coach in. Not only will you learn from watching them you'll also see different ways your players react to a different coach. You might pick up some do's and don'ts about your own players you never realized before and take a great soccer coaches training session for yourself, plus you get a practice off!
5. Jump In! - You really want to see what it's like to be a player in one of your own practices then become one. Jumping into a training session every once in a while is a great way to see how your drills work (or don't work) and it gives you great insight as to how it is playing with some of your players. You will learn a lot about who is in the right positioning, who's easy to play with and who puts you in difficult situations while playing on their team. You can never truly now how good or bad one of your sessions is unless you experience it in the first person.
1. Test, Test, Test - The only way you're going to get some accurate data points and footage is by trying it out in a match. Try and use the new ideas that you've only trained for a short time in exhibition games and not in important games that matter as those are not the time to be bringing out new tricks the team isn't yet comfortable with. Whether it's a new pressing system or possession tactic you developed or took from another respected soccer coaches training environment you must test your ideas in an actual game to know what they are actually worth so be courageous.
2. Play Stronger Teams - By playing stronger teams you will put yourself in a position where your influence becomes even more valuable. Play a team a level above you or older then you where you know your team will struggle then see if you can coach your way out of it, there is no better way to increase a soccer coaches training and development then by being thrown into the fire and trying to fight your way out.
3. Develop Hand Signals - You've seen it in Basketball and Football so why not in our game? See if you can develop different hand signals for formation changes, position changes and anything else you want to communicate. There's nothing worse than having to scream your new formation for everyone to hear so why not develop some sign language code.
4. Create Code Words - Establish code words that mean different things to your team throughout a match. Soccer coaches training at the highest level includes creative ideas like this one so "blue 55" can mean high press and "green baby" can mean go down with an injury to waste time etc.
5. Use the Tactical Board - Becoming comfortable and proficient with your tactics board is a skill most coaches haven't yet developed. Lots of your players are visual learners and you barking at them for ten minutes during half time won't be nearly as valuable as you showing them what you mean on the board. Create the habit of using it every single time you coach in a match, not only will your team benefit but so will your growth as a coach.