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Motivating Your Soccer Players

The Art of Motivation

Many times as a player, I wondered about keeping myself motivated.  This is a skillset that, even as an adult, I still work on every day.  The art of motivation is never the same and comes in many forms.  There is the non-verbal, the formal, the 30 second talk, etc etc.  These techniques can be measured by players in many different ways.  

The science of team building and bonding does not happen overnight.  But, we are going to focus the first paragraph on motivating the individual.  As my experience has taught me, every coach should be working each session to know and value every single player.  Often times, it seems that coaches get too comfortable coaching the sport to the team, instead of including the management of an individual.  So, how can we motivate an individual?  

Here is an example.  Chris, a u15 boys player, has just come off the field after 25 minutes in the game.  He started and was the first to be substituted.  As he comes off the field, it is apparent that Chris is despondent at the decision.  Before, substituting him off, I make a note to give him 2 things he did well and one he could improve on.  The result might be something like this:

"Chris, It was great that you noticed that 1v1 opportunity in the attacking third and went for it.  When transitioning from midfield to attack, look to give and get.  I know you are capable, so let's see it in action." 

There is another technique of self-motivation.  In sports psychology, angst, fear and excitement and determination are all action words for motivation.  There are three types of players before a big match; the player who needs to be calmed down, player who needs to be psyched up and the one who needs to be left alone.  

Work with players in a classroom environment to identify their "psych up" word or "psych down" word.  This will help to keep the player motivated on the task.  

Adam DeClerico - Boys Director of Coaching :: Adam has experience as a youth, collegiate and professional soccer player, and won an Amateur National Championship. His career coaching record is 74-25-18 with numerous tournament and league titles.