One of a coach's first tasks each season is getting the team organized. You will hold a team meeting at the start of the season to get to know everyone, share your expectations with the parents and players, and get the volunteer support needed to be successful. Some coaches hold their team meeting the park immediately after their first practice. Others hold a meeting at their home or at a park on the weekend before the first practice. It is important that you hold a meeting, but when and where is up to you.
To prepare for this meeting, we have a couple of sample parent letters that you can modify and hand out at your meeting. We also have a signup sheet to help you get your volunteers. After the team meeting, and before the first game, someone (perhaps the coach, but usually the team manager) will need to put together a team roster and a game and snack schedule. We have samples to help you get started with those as well.
Practices and Games
In preparing for your games, you will need to create a lineup form that shows who's in and who's out and what positions the players will be playing for each quarter of the game. This is important so that you can make sure everyone gets to play and that the players get to experience different positions throughout the game.
The system your webmaster has used for years is to draw four soccer fields on a piece of paper and fill in the player's name is the appropriate positions. An example from a 7-a-side game with one sub is shown in the "Example Line Up Form." Blanks for your use are also provided.
We've also provided a soccer field diagram that you can use a background for all sorts of diagrams to communicate with your players, parents, assistant coaches, and others.
As a coach, you can get a better understanding of where your team is strong and where it needs work by keeping track of statistics during the game. There are lots of ways to keep track of statistics. Two examples are listed below. And here's a tip: don't keep stats yourself; you have enough to do during a game. Keeping stats is a great way for a parent to help with the team and can be a great distraction for that parent who likes to yell at the kids too much!
Finally, we have a nice handout on the objectives of the game that you can share with your players.
- Example Line Up Form
- Blank Line Up Form
- Soccer Field Diagram
- Defensive Statistics
- Offensive Statistics
Laws of the Game
We coaches need to understand the Laws of the Game so that we can train our players appropriately. Below you will find links to the full Laws of the Game and to the modified laws for the younger age groups. We also have links to a very good video example of the offside law that everyone should watch, and a video explaining the field markings and some of the laws of the game.
- Laws of the Game
- U5-U8 Modified Laws of the Game
- Video Explanation of Offside
- Video Explanation of Field Markings
Training Class Slides
By popular demand, you can get the Intermedate Coaching Course slides from Dan Meigs's course as a pdf file.
Please note that Dan's slides differ from the "official" presentation slides that you can find on ayso.org. Both are good resources.