Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
How to handle disgruntled players
October 18th, 2007 11:45AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  youth boys


By Eric Steege

Youth soccer players who invest countless hours to improve conditioning and technical skills and sacrifice their spring break and summer vacations for the soccer field expect to play on game day.

When hard work fails to be "rewarded" with playing time, an athlete can quickly become frustrated and unmotivated. Unfortunately, many players define their personal value and contribution to the team as the number of minutes they play on game day. It can be difficult for a coach to correct this misperception.

In an effort to avoid the frustration and retaliation that often develops in players who give much of themselves but aren't given any playing time in return, coaches can address the issue of playing time in a number of ways.

1. Schedule individual meetings for the beginning of the season.

These meetings provide a valuable opportunity to discuss playing-time expectations, clarify goals and roles, and show players that you value time spent with them.

An effective technique to use during these meetings is to ask players about their strengths and how they can best contribute to the team. It is vital that you are honest and clear with players when discussing roles and areas that need improvement.

When players know what a coach expects of them from the beginning of the season, they have the choice to accept or move on. If a player is a non-starter, impress upon him/her what strengths s/he brings to the team and that his/her value to the team cannot and should not be measured in how many minutes played on game day.

2. Articulate clear team policies to the group.

Early in the season, it is important to communicate to both players and parents the proper avenues to discuss questions of playing time.

For example, mandating that playing time issues are not to be discussed directly after a game and should be conducted directly with the coach during a one-on-one meeting can be helpful in avoiding damaging situations.

3. Spend equal time with role players.

Try to spend as much time working with non-starters as you do with starters. Remind the team the value of the "bench player" by congratulating them on practice accomplishments, positive attitudes, and strong work ethics. Have the coaching staff monitor and provide feedback to players who are on the bubble and motivated to take their game to the next level.

4. Help role players experience competition.

Often one of the most significant aspects non-starters miss is the simple thrill of competition. By developing competitive practices that include inter-squad scrimmages, non-starters will also be engaged in fun and healthy competition that will produce a motivating practice climate.

In addition, communicate clearly to non-starters what they need to do to improve. By helping players set clear and realistic short and long-term goals, non-starters' energy/effort will be focused on specific areas of improvement and an internal competitive spirit will be ignited.

There are no magic formulas to deal with the many issues that may develop through out a season regarding playing time. However, by communicating honestly and frequently about playing time, coaches can defuse non-starters' frustrations and increase team satisfaction.

Eric Steege, a performance consultant with the International Center of Performance Excellence at West Virginia University, is currently in the doctoral program for Sport and Exercise Psychology at WVU and an assistant coach with the WVU Men's Soccer team. He can be reached at 608-213-5025 or by email at esteege@mix.wvu.edu.

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Tony Meola: Young players are more sophisticated than ever    
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the USA hosting the 1994 World Cup -- a ...
Unhappy with your coach? How to respond    
Invariably as I talk to players, there are usually complaints surrounding coaches. I'm sure that the ...
Coordinated tryout process would help relieve spring stress    
Soccer teams are finally able to get outside to begin their practices in preparation for the ...
Latino Inclusion: How far have we come? (Part 1)    
Only two decades ago, the United States had never had a Hispanic head coach at any ...
Thomas Rongen returns to grassroots    
Thomas Rongen has been head coach of four MLS teams, coached the USA at four U-20 ...
The Discipline of Being in Position for ARs    
In many game situations, I could make a case that the ref's best position varies but ...
Brilliant books for kids: Messi, Ronaldo, USA ... South Africa    
Lionel Messi preferred to play with marbles and collect picture cards, seemingly uninterested in the soccer ...
Top item on to-do list as spring season kicks off    
With the spring season kicking off, this is the perfect time to make sure you've got ...
Ref Watch: Are All Games Equally Important?    
During the 1990s, I worked as a Senior Art Director at Manhattan ad agency Lowe McAdams. ...
11 Tips for Coaching the Little Ones     
"I got recruited to coach my kid's soccer team. Any advice?"
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives