Sport Psychology In Youth Soccer

By: Jeff Schield

Psychology is an important part of being in athletics. Players need to have the ability to be mentally strong to face challenges and overcome failures they may have within their sport. Players will mature with their mental strength and ability at different ages. Gender as well will have an effect because males and females mature at different ages.

As a coach there are 6 principles to help with my psychology of a coach and when my psychology is proper it will pass onto the kids I coach:

● strong desire to win 

● stay positive in the face of challenge and pressure

● control your controllable

● high commitment - balanced attitude 

● high level of self - belief

● positive body language

As a youth coach if I were to apply 4 of these principles to my coaching style I would apply these as follows:

1. Stay positive in the face of challenge and pressure: coaching youth soccer, one of our main focuses is to develop the player and have winning as a shadow. (Development over winning) Dealing with young players we may sometimes sacrifice their winning to help develop a player which in turn will lead to losses. Even though we may lose some games I need to make sure I bring the positive out of every situation with every game. What did certain players do well, what did the team do well? These are types of questions that I will answer at the end of the games.

2. Control your controllables: Many youth coaches and coaches in general seem to get upset during games and practices with things they can't control. They yell, scream and complain about situations they have no control over. As a coach it's my responsibility to stay calm, cool and collected with things I cannot control. If our game starts late because the game before is running behind, if the ref makes bad calls, if it rains etc.. Those are situations that I have no control over and I can't do anything about. I can control my controllables by developing the players, making sure they know when game time and practice times are and having quality training sessions.

3. High commitment - balanced attitude: To make sure I get the most out of my players from every practice I want to make sure I show I am committed to their development. I can do this by being prepared for every practice with a written training session, enough cones, pinnies, balls and making sure my session is fun and enjoyable and a learning environment for the players. 

4. Positive body language: Even though we may lose games throughout the year and my players at the youth level may not play the way I taught them in practice, 90% of my message is transmitted through my body language. It's my job to make sure my body language, the way I stand, what my smile is like, where my arms are, what type of image I am sending is important to note when I'm coaching. If I continuously show a negative image to my players, I would possibly lose the trust of my players and possibly the parents and make it difficult to coach the kids. As a youth coach I need to constantly show that I am positive and progressive with my body image to allow my youth players to trust and have faith in me as a coach.

Good luck,

Jeff Schield