Winning begins with you, the coach. You must believe in yourself as a winner. If your purpose is not to win, then it leaves only one alternative, and that's losing! When coaching soccer, you must never teach your players how to beat the rules but rather teach them how to beat the opponents. There is no room for the coach who permits breaking the rules to achieve an advantage.
All good coaches instill in their players a burning desire to win. That means winning every ball and winning every game. Imparting that pride in winning to your players is a coach's main job.
If there's a sport where pride can make the difference between winning and losing, it's soccer. If two teams with similar ability are placed on the field, chances are it will be pride more than systems or tactics that will prevail. Systems and tactics are important and you must learn to match these effectively with the skill of your players. Without pride or a purpose, a team will almost always be defeated.
Before converting your own winning philosophy of coaching soccer into a winning team effort, you must know a few things about the players that look to you for guidance.
Find out which players have been babied, which are fighters, and who among them will sacrifice for the good of the team. You must deal on an individual level before you can generate an effective winning team attitude. Sometimes this means taking an interest in each player. It doesn't matter whether it's a youth team or the professional level; players like to know their coach is interested in them as people as well as players.
Reaction to Criticism
Some players thrive on being corrected in front of their teammates. They'll put forth extra effort to avoid the same mistake again. Others will be demoralized and commit further mistakes. Those players need to be drawn into post-practice discussions about their performance. It's important to convert criticism into praise at the proper time.
Once you've determined the character of your players and their reaction to criticism, it all comes down to attitude, yours and theirs. Good attitudes towards each other will determine whatever success your team attains. Willingness to push themselves to prove individual skills and maintain a high level of teamwork is a sign of good player attitude.
Good coaching attitude is just as important. Show confidence, but never be fully satisfied with your team's performance. Soccer is a game of mistakes and you should prepare your team in such a way that it will make fewer than the opponents. Take on each opponent one at a time, as the toughest that you'll play, and your players will work hard to reduce their mistakes.
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