How to Prevent Youth Soccer Players From Goofing Off During Practice Sessions

Many coaches ask me how to stop the players goofing around during practice sessions. Below are some ideas that I use myself and that are successful.

Firstly after team formation at tryouts I have a sheet of paper with the coaches rules for the players. I read this to the players and have them sign it. It is good to start off like this and let the players know the rules and what you will accept and what you will not accept.

Some rules could include:

– To attend all practice sessions

– To inform the coach if you cannot attend a practice session or game.

– To turn up to practice sessions and games on time

– To try their hardest in practice sessions and games

– No talking when the coach is talking

– No goofing off during practice sessions

Secondly it is wise for the coach to not allow the players the time to goof off. They should always be kept busy. Do drills where all the players are involved and try to not do too many line drills where the players are standing around for long periods of time.

If there are a few players goofing around, you should discipline the whole team. Here peer pressure will come in and the players themselves will tell the few who are goofing around not to do so.

If there are continuous instances of the same player goofing around, a private word with the player might be a good idea. In this conversation be open and honest. Tell them that this is a problem and ask them to discontinue this behavior. This private one on one conversation usually works. If this does not work I would suggest having a word with the parent. This should really put an end to the problem.

If all of the above does not work there is obviously a problem with the player. The next stage should be an official letter of warning in writing to the parents. This should state the sequence of events you have already taken to stop the goofing around and, a warning that a repeat of this behavior will lead to a suspension from a few games and then dismissal from the team.

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