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Concord AYSO Region 305

Positive Coaching

Positive Coaching is One of the Six Philosophies of AYSO

This is what we mean when we say positive coaching:

Setting the Tone - Good sportsmanship and team spirit begins with you.

You are teaching these kids much more than just soccer, so always be aware of your behavior, because your players will be watching.

At Practices - Set the right example for the kids.

  • Always be the first one to practice and the last one to leave.
  • It is okay to expect kids (and their parents) to come on time, too. They should respect your time.

Come prepared with a sense of what drills you want to run and what you want to accomplish
Kids get easily distracted when standing around.

  • If you are fumbling and stumbling about what to do at practice, you are more likely to lose their attention.
  • Focus on drills that involve most or all of the kids at the same time.
  • Understand the level of your players. You can’t teach the whole thing in one season. Focus on one or two skills that are age appropriate. Reinforce and praise good performance. Be patient when correcting a player.
  • We are a teaching league, but we have limited time.
  • We want to advance the skills of all players, not just the stars. This is the reward of being a coach:  seeing all your players shine after a season of hard work.


The coach wins if the kids learned something about soccer and sportsmanship, regardless of the score!

  • Sure, everyone wants to win, but NOT at the expense of excluding a player. We are here for the kids;  to help them play the game.
  • Limit your teaching during the game. Practices are for teaching. Give encouragement and take notes so you can work on any weaknesses at the next practice.
  • It is the kids’ game. Each child should be able to say they had fun at the end of a practice and/or game. It takes coordinated effort to win.

Here are some ideas to follow:

  • Come to the game with your roster and positions already set for each period of play.  It will eliminate 90% of all squabbling, lobbying or complaining about positions.
  • Say Hello to the refs and opposing coaches before the game. We are all part of the same soccer family.
  • Make sure your players have proper equipment.
  • Players should play all positions during the regular season. Even your star goal keeper should play out of goal at least half of each game. Kids who love defense need to play as Forwards and vice versa. Players should learn the skills and strategies of all positions. As they get older and involved in more competitive play, they will have plenty of opportunity to focus on one particular position.
  • Substitutions are made between quarters, never during the quarter (unless there is an injury). The clock does not stop at quarter breaks, so do this quickly.
  • Players should be in the game at least three quarters. If you have too many players, you are required to balance it out. No player should play three or four quarters every week while others are playing only two.
  • Make sure you alternate your starting line-up and your fourth quarter line-up. Players should not be sensing that there are certain times of the game when they are not as welcome on the field.
    They are volunteers, just like you, doing the best they can. You undermine their authority and set a horrible example for the kids when you cannot control your emotions. Rolling of the eyes, complaining to parents or players on the sidelines is equally poor conduct. Refs will blow calls. It happens, get over it. IF you want to talk to the ref about specific or general issues, take him/her over to the side at an opportune time and have a polite conversation. Perhaps you do not fully understand the Laws of the Game. Perhaps the ref just missed it.
    There is simply no excuse for criticizing players on the field or barking instructions at them every two seconds. Let the kids play. Take notes. Use those notes to teach at the half and the end of the game. Most players know very well when they commit a bonehead play; there is no need to remind them.
    A good pass. A good shot. Good hustle. Good teamwork. A good defensive play. A nice save. A good kick. Use of the whole field. Nice dribbling. Good positional play. There are dozens of opportunities to praise your players and your team every game, win or lose. Take advantage of some of them.
    Never run up the score. If your team has a victory well in hand, think about putting your goal scorers on defense and telling them not to go midfield. Or tell them to focus on possession, not scoring. There is no bright line rule as to when to ease up, but it usually isn’t too hard to figure it out.
    Whether towards the other team, the ref, or their own team or child. Be considerate, but firm, and remind them of the code of conduct that parents are expected to follow. It may be helpful to have one handy to show them. If a parent continues to be a problem, escalate to the Regional Coach Administrator and/or Regional Commissioner
    Thank the refs. Thank the opposing coaches and players. And encourage your players to thank the refs too.

Running Your Team

Always focus on positive coaching.

  • It is up to you to set a positive tone for your team.
  • Always be respectful of your players, opposing players, other coaches, and refs.
  • Make sure your players and parents show the same respect at all times.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Work your team hard, but always have fun!

Get some help with your duties!

  • Get an assistant coach and as many other assistants as possible to help with practices.
  • Let your team parent handle phone calls to other parents.

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Concord AYSO Region 305

PO Box 1061 
Concord, California 94522

Email Us: [email protected]
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