Coaching Skills

15 Youth Football Coaching Tips

Age Group: All

Drill Type: Fundamentals


To learn and apply 15 junior/youth football coaching tips across your team appropriate to age group.


Coaching junior and youth football in the BBDFL is a tremendous honour and a very important responsibility.

Watching our young players develop their skills and grow into confident, young people is a very rewarding experience. It is however a responsibility that requires dedication and at times we need to reflect, stand back and think how we do things....

So to help you and your players get the most out of next season, here are fifteen tips that will help you succeed as a BBDFL coach.

Some of these are just common sense, but they are still a useful reminder for anyone who is involved in coaching. Common sense is great, but unfortunatley its not always common practice!!!!

Please see them as a checklist to see whether you are doing the right things for you, your players and the supporters!

1 Ensure that everyone enjoys themselves

Winning shouldn't be the sole reason for playing or coaching. Striving to win is different than winning at all costs. Players need to feel like they can express and enjoy themselves; by allowing this and giving them the skills to play, you will create a winning team.

2 Hold a pre-season contracting session

Getting the season underway and ensuring that everyone, players, parents and assistants know exactly what your plans are for the season is a must. This gives you the opportunity to set out your agenda, make new players feel welcome, provide policies, rules, paperwork and codes. You should ensure that nobody leaves with any shred of doubt as to what's your plan for the season ahead.

3 Get your paperwork in order

Ensure all your players are signed on by the club through iteammate and are all eligible to play in their relevant age group. Ensure you have a printed copy of your team members proof of registration at every game.

4 Develop your own skills through Continual Professional Development.

Read and educate yourself on new practices & drills, tactics, formations and strategies. Brush up on key technical elements. The BBDFL is developing its own coaching education, and you should take full advantage of this as it develops. Join the FA Licence Coaches Club and always look to develop.

5.Check your Football Kit.

What needs renewing, replenishing, fixing before the season starts? Take special care to ensure that emergency aid kit is fully stocked, and you turn up to training and match day totally prepared.

6. Set a goal for the season ahead

Not every young player will be a shining star throughout the season and different players will have different needs. Set each player specific milestones and goals that help contribute to the wider objectives of the team for the season ahead. Give them some responsibility and watch them grow

7 Plan your training sessions well

Terrific training sessions are fun, move at a quick pace, keep the players on their toes, move from drill to drill quickly and efficiently, and culminate in a small sided game that specifically practices the techniques and skills learnt in the session. Progression needs to be the key. Plan your sessions, this makes all of the above happen.

8 Provide good quality demonstrations and KISS feedback

Remember a picture paints a thousand words, always use demonstrations. If you can't do it, find someone a player or assistant that can. Even if they can't do it perfectly first time, that's ok, provide the feedback to them on what could or should have done, players will still grasp the concept.Remember, Keep It Short & Simple.

9 Ensure all young players get a fair share of the action

Parents like to see their own child on the pitch. If they turn up each week and their child is always on the side line they are not going to be happy. If this happens you'll have some problems ahead of you.

On the other hand, if you've followed Tip 2 and held a contracting session where you stipulate that not every child will play every week and that some players may only get bit part roles throughout the season and checked if everyone is ok with this right at the beginning of the season, then this is something that you can avoid.

The best coaches at the younger age groups always try to provide equal playing time for all players, regardless of their ability.

This sometimes leads to losing games that could have been won. but the main coaching objective isn’t winning games, it’s making sure all players have fun and develop their potential. But again, this needs to be explained to your players and their parents at the beginning of the season if you want to avoid problems later on.

10 Maintain a match log

Starting players, substitutes, minutes played, positions played in, goals scored, all of these stat's will come in useful during the season. Whether its to give players some feedback, assess needs or back up with hard fact any points that you may need to make with disgruntled parents.

11 Keep open lines of communication with players and parents throughout the season

This isn't just to make sure that everyone is happy and comfortable with the team, it's about taking an interest in players too! Make time to speak to players about their development, tactics, sportsmanship, skills, position etc. By taking an interest it shows that you care and this will lift any young player’s performance.

Also, give parents plenty of opportunity to have airtime too. If they do come to you with any gripes or complaints let them speak. Resist jumping in and defending yourself immediately, don't react.

Allow them to get everything off their chest, listen, demonstrate that your listening, then construct your answer so that they get your full explanation in a calm and considered manner. It might not be that they are going to necessarily agree or disagree with your points but give them airtime.

12 Appoint a parent representative

A good parent representative can be worth their weight in gold. A training session should be exactly that a training session, where you put your players through their paces and develop their skills. However, we see too many sessions taken over by parents wanting to discuss issues that could be dealt with by a parent rep. Instead of you getting many queries all on the same topic by different parents, have your parent rep deal with them, or co-ordinate the issues so that you only deal with them once, after the training session.

13 Lead by example

Show respect for officials, opponents, players and parents. Develop a sound sense of sportsmanship with your players.

14 Offer plenty of praise!

Be an inspiring BBDFL coach, one that the players look up to and respect. You can do this easily by offering plenty of praise, catch your players doing things well and tell them. Yes they will need feedback when things aren't going so well but this can still be done in a positive manner by using the praise - criticize - praise technique.

15 Don't over coach

Try not to over coach from the side lines during the game; give too much feedback at half time or a major run down of the game at full time. Win, lose or draw have a quick summing up after the game and then plan your next coaching session from what you've seen.