Inhouse Game Day Coaching


LNUSC Inhouse Game Day Coaching


  • Participants should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to game time and centralize as a team:
    • Warm up by passing the ball in groups of 2 or 3 while moving around the field
    • Have the kids keep their gear and water in a central area on the sideline
    • Avoid putting the kids in line where they only get a few touches and limited warm up 
  • If coaches are on the field stay central.  Do not go into the offensive or defensive box.
  • Teach the kids in training/practice the rules of the game so then game day is reminders.  Teach the fundamentals of throw ins, goal kicks, corner kicks so they are prepared for games.
  • U8 and up - Focus guidance on positioning and field awareness in finding open space; not real time direction and commentary such as “pass to Billy” or “Katie is open”.  The kids need to learn for themselves and games are the time for them to excel, as well as make mistakes.
  • U8 and up - Ask questions as opposed to telling the kids what to do; teach them to think about the game as opposed to reacting to direction.  Ask Timmy what position he is playing and where he should be as opposed to saying Timmy you are playing forward so move up the field.
  • U8 and up - Encourage the children, especially those that “get it” to direct others.  Communication is one of the fundamentals of the game and the earlier we emphasize that fundamental the better.  
  • Manage the game in the best interest of all the kids who are participating
    • Keep playing time balanced across all participants as well as positioning; occasionally there may be an exception to this based on natural instincts of a player, even at this age, and those instincts should be encouraged but not become exclusive
    • Do not run up scores as it will discourage opposing players; especially those with the competitive attitude (which we can’t teach as coaches) that will drive them to develop down the road.  Find the instructional opportunity in the situation:
      • Have the stronger players go to 3 touch; this will encourage them to pass as well as encourage the players off the ball to find the supporting space.  While it may not be realistic to have the whole team play 3 touch chances are there are a handful of kids dominating the game and those kids will be able to play in this manner.
      • Pick a player that attends practice, is attentive, but whose development may be lagging others and make them the only goal scorer.  This encourages that player to become more aggressive in front of the goal while forcing the stronger players to have more field awareness around the box without removing the natural instincts to get to goal.
      • Do not sit any child, no matter how good they are, for more than half the game; the stronger participants worked hard all week and should not be punished.  Restrict positioning to defense and limit touches as opposed to sitting them out.
      • Have the other coach play additional players on defense as opposed to playing shorthanded and reducing playing time for any child.