How to Evaluate and Teach the Game

Chris Johnson 63,960 Views

Team and player evaluation is a large part of being a successful soccer coach.

Soccer Drill Diagram: How to Evaluate and Teach the Game

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Team and player evaluation is a large part of being a successful soccer coach.

Team and player evaluation is a large part of being a successful soccer coach. From evaluating team and players abilities, we are able to focus in on our teams strengths and weaknesses and structure our training sessions around these findings. Evaluating a team should be done at all events, and is easiest done in match situations, or even better when done during training sessions.

One of the most constructive ways to evaluate a team or team of players is to use “Free Play”. Free Play allows coaches to quickly and easily evaluate the level of competency, creativity  and commitment of each player. With that being said, Free play is one of the easiest and most effective way to evaluate players capabilities. Basically "Free Play" is where players play without restrictions or very limited restrictions on time and space. Players are simply given a general direction on what they should accomplish, and are then left to play on their own while the coach evaluates the play.

During Free Play, players should be encouraged to work hard and players will develop their natural abilities and allows players to become more creative. This time will be very productive for both player and coach and will avoid wasteful time spent organizing lines, keeping players attention, and time spent setting up drills. During this time, the coach should be looking for particular breakdowns in play and coach’s observational powers will increase as they are forced to isolate individual action in a group.

As a coach it is your job to provide an environment for teaching players how to solve match problems. In many situations there are many options to solve the problem, and it's up to the coach to recognize these options and express them to the players. To teach players how to solve match problems the coach will need to set up training sessions that are close to match conditions. The training sessions should be set up as the players can repeatedly execute a specific skill, tactic or combination of each to solve the match problems. As a coach, you should start simple and progress to a more complex situation (static to dynamic).

When setting up the practice sessions, make sure you take into consideration the players age and skill level. When talking to kids the coach should always remember to communicate in a language that is appropriate to the age of the players and the coach should not use complex terminology that is not understood by the players. Make sure each player is aware of the drill objective (reason for drill) which will allow the players to internalize the skill or tactic being taught. The coach should make sure he has prepared a session that allows each group to be easily manageable with restrictions and consequences appropriate for the players. As much as possible the coach should try to achieve match-like situations and the coach should step in at times for correcting players and giving coaching points. The coach should always reevaluate the players and training session to make sure the players are getting the appropriate skill or tactic and are able to transfer the training session to the game.

So when it comes to teaching players the game, there are some steps to take to become a more effective coach. These steps are:
1. State the tactical or technical objective you are trying to accomplish
2. Demonstrate the skill or drill
3. Involve all players and let all players try it
4. Analyze the level of play and skills being used by players.
5. Evaluate effort, commitment and continue evaluating play.

Please remember that as a coach it is up to you to communicate individual instructions clearly and to use ethical psychological motivation. These are our kids, and a little word of encouragement impacts a player much more than a degrading or embarrassing words.

In summary, a great soccer coach always attempt to simulate a match in the learning environment and should always strive to build match conditions. Each piece of the training session should be communicated in a clear and positive manner and feedback should be provided to players on a individual basis. If a coach can follow these simple rules outline above they will drastically see improvements in their team and players.

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