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Portland Soccer Club

Coaching the Coaches

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8/20/21: Last week's Coaching the Coaches session with Tom Turvil was a great opportunity for coaches to hear tips from a professional experienced college coach in our area. Here are some notes from the session. Coaches, please take a moment to read these helpful coaching tips. There's a picture from the session below.

Coaching the Coaches
The best coaches are those who continue to learn.

  • You should focus on development over results. In other words, focus on teaching the players soccer skills. Learning soccer is a lifelong journey that requires patience. Don’t get too hung up on winning or losing a match. Develop a plan for the season and teach a few key concepts over the course of the season consistently and methodically. Plan to cover one key concept per training or per week, and build from week to week.

  • Plan the entire season in blocks of concepts over time

  • Start with defending early in the season 

  • Eventually work into passing, eventually working to shooting, etc

  • The best type of training structure is play practice play (US youth soccer training follows this with grassroots, 4v4, 7v7, etc.)

    • Begin each night playing small games. 

    • Stick to one topic in a night 

    • Take a break from the games and spend time discussing the key topic and maybe a drill or activity that allows the players to hone a skill related to the topic

    • Then end the last part of practice with a larger game, and teach the night’s key concept during the game with as few stoppages in play as possible.

  • Stick with a few drills throughout the course of the season, to allow the progression to occur and don't abandon it too soon. The players skills at the drills will get better, 

    • Rondo's are good: play 2v2 a full-time neutral player ("always offense" with a 3rd color pinnie), that can lead into a 3v3 with two neutrals or, like the pros a 4v4 with three neutrals 

    • Or you could have a passing drill Rondo where five kids pass it around of one kid is trying to defend. Give incentive for consecutive passes without the defender touching it 

    • Get feedback from players on what drills are great and which ones need to be tossed

  • Be patient and don't worry about the results of each game, don't overreact to what you saw on Saturday, trying to “fix” it the following week.

    • You should focus on development over time. This is a better way to teach children the sport than focusing on the W/L results:

  • Ask questions: When leading a discussion with the players, it's good to start with a question to get the players thinking. Ask an opened-ended question, not a yes/no question 

  • Talk frequently about the goals of the season, the goals of each session, and motivate them to think in terms of getting better / improving themselves 

  • Build on successes, more than focusing on the negatives. Thank the players for showing up. Encourage them to strive to get better each day, 

  • Ssshh! Coaches, during games you shouldn't be yelling or offering suggestions over and over constantly during the match; the best games of the season are the silent sidelines, try it! Talk calmly to your players when they sub, when action is slow, or during out-of-bounds breaks.

    • Coaches should remain calm at all times

    • Let the players think for themselves, there's too much dictating by coaches and parents throughout every soccer game in youth sports today 

    • You don't have to tell a player when they mess up, because they can usually see for themselves

    • Learning is most effective when a player is calm and not distracted by all the action during a play

  • Remind the parents in the beginning of the season: just to be positive

    • During games: parents should let coaches coach. Cheer and be supportive! Coaches need to set these expectations with the parents.

    • On the drive home: Parents should ask questions of the players on their way home, how did you do? what went well? what do you feel like you could improve? This keeps the kid thinking in terms of development over results. It keeps the kid positive too. Don’t criticize the kid’s effort or mistakes. Parents can talk to the coach if they have a concern about a kid’s skill or effort.

  • For younger kids, everyone can do a little bit of goalkeeper training, for example pair up and volley the ball with your foot (small, low-powered, drop kick) into your partner’s hands and take turns. It works on volleying skills and keeper catches at the same time.

  • You don't really need agility drills by themselves like burpees, sprints, or ladders. Rather, put a ball at their feet and ask them to dribble to the other side. The first player there can celebrate being first. Then put a defender on the field. That's how they develop their speed and skills -- through incentives in soccer-like situations (some coaches famously say there are no ladder ropes on a soccer field so why waste valuable training time teaching players how to run through them?)


Coaches who attended, thanks for attending and helping players in our club have the best experience possible in our town.
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Additional Coaches Resources

Thank you for signing up to coach with the Portland Soccer Club. As a volunteer you provide a valuable life experience for the children in our town. Our club requires Travel coaches to obtain a certain level of training, and recommends Rec coaches to seek out training where possible. Below are some training opportunities. Please familiarize yourself with these resources and requirements.

Being a successful coach is not easy, and no one is just born with it. It requires a variety of skills and knowledge:

Coach's skills

  • Patience
  • Determination
  • Creativity and curiosity
  • Communication
  • Motivational


Coach's knowledge

  • Soccer skills and tactics
  • Each player's comprehension levels


The new US Soccer coaches training program provides resources that can help you improve your coaching skills. See below for some in-person events or online modules that interest you.
 Let us know if you would like to participate in one or more, and the club will reimburse you the registration fee upon successful completion.


Travel Coaches
: The Portland Soccer Club requires Travel head coaches to attend at least one approved in-person training event. These are offered from time to time throughout the year. See below


Rec Coaches
: Rec coaches are not required to attend an in-person course, but are welcome to attend an in-person 4v4 training class if it is offered in the future.


Online Courses
: All Coaches are encouraged to explore the online courses, in addition to in-person courses. The club will reimburse for these courses as well. Travel coaches can supplement what they learned in a required in-person course with additional optional online courses.


Note there is a single mandatory 20-minute new online Introduction to Grassroots Coaching prerequisite course.

Introduction to Grassroots Coaching

Introduction to Grassroots FREE Online, appr. 20 minutes

This free introductory module, which represents the first step in the newly revised coaching license pathway, is now the general starting point of the pathway and is the required prerequisite to undergo any of U.S. Soccer's Grassroots Licensing Courses.

Each of the following builds on the principles covered in Introduction to Grassroots Coaching Module. Candidates will learn more about U.S. Soccer's Grassroots Coaching Education Philosophy, Play-Practice-Play Methodology, the Six Tasks of a Coach.

4v4 Course

Online: 4v4 Course $25 Online, appr. 2 hours

In-person: 4v4 Courses 

For: players aged 6-8 Good for our rec coaches and younger travel team coaches.

7v7 Course

Online: 7v7 Course $25 Online, appr. 2 hours

Or In Person: 7v7 Course In person,

For players aged 9-10 Good for U9/U10 travel coaches

9v9 Course

Online: 9v9 Course $25 Online, appr. 2 hours

Or In Person: 9v9 Course in person

Players aged 11 -12 Good for travel coaches of 9v9 squads, U11/U12

11v11 Course

Online: 11v11 Course $25 Online, appr 2 hours

Or In Person: 11v11 Course in person,

players aged 13+ Good for travel coaches of oldest teams, U13+



Other resources
Posted Jun 19, 2018

>> Coaches' Code of Conduct

>> Parents' Code of Conduct

>> Portland Soccer Club Recreational Coaching Guide



Futsal Quick Hitters for Coaches

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Futsal Quick Hitters for Coaches

  • Continuing our Rec Futsal program and expanding to travel players is very good for our program.
  • Touches and Participation: Fifa estimates a player gets 600 times more touches on the ball during Futsal than outdoor soccer. For that reason, players are more engaged, have more fun, and continue to love soccer for many years. Youth coaches have observed that futsal is effective at competing for the kids attention in the age of iphones and ipads (speed of thinking, multitasking)
  • Techniques to coach:
    • using sole of the foot (watch Messi use this technique),
    • force them to look up (it's not enough to just tell them to look up, rather create practice drills that require them to look up)
    • backpedalling
    • touch every 2 steps: when dribbling touch the ball every two steps (left, right, touch, left, right, touch, etc)
    • Travel team goalies can develop their skills in futsal (watch pro keepers attack strikers 1v1 in the open field of outdoor soccer today. They use the futsal technique of making their body a short, fat wall, rather than the old method of diving toward ground near the ball)
  • Location: any flat surface works. Be creative, for example tennis courts
  • Influence on Soccer: Soccer is game composed of multiple mini-Futsal games at once bolted together. When you have the ball, you have a player to your left, to your right, and completing the diamond in front of you, which is the futsal formation. Pro Soccer now sees more 4-3-3 formations than in the past, and the belief is that Futsal may be influencing these changes. Possession is now moving the ball from back to mid to top, rather than booting it to a lone striker and hoping the striker can outrun the sweeper.
  • History: Futsal originated in Uruguay in the 1930's and was made popular in Brazil. Pele, Ronaldo, Neymar, Messi and many other elite players played Futsal. The word futsal is a blend of "fut" (foot) and "salon" (room / indoor).
  • Website resource: Futsal.com
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