Coaching a U10 soccer team is different than coaching at other age groups. That may sound obvious, but I have noticed a lot of former soccer players and coaches at a variety of levels assume that their prior experience will make them a great U10 coach. That is not even close to the truth. More than anything you need to understand your team and how to inspire them and let them have fun. Being a coach is a tough job rewarding job. Let’s talk through some of the things a U10 coach should focus on with his soccer team:
- Winning and losing at U10 soccer is always a big question. How do we handle both and what do we do when things go / don’t go our way. My opinion is a coach at U10 should always keep their team first. Secondly, always put player development in front of winning but never take scoring away from your kids. Instead, if your team is winning by ten goals try to get your players to use their off foot or switch positions. Never tell them not to score though, the other team is the other coaches responsibility.
- Set your goals at the beginning of your season. Your goal should always be player development first and winning second. Sometimes it is easier to define what those goals are at the beginning of the season than later. I always wait until I have had a couple of practices to understand the strength and weaknesses of the players on my U10 team and then decide for each what I want them to accomplish.
- Try your best not to coach up or down to the players on your U10 team. It is inevitable that you will have players that have better technical ability at this age than other kids. You should continue to encourage their development in practice and matches. Conversely, do not put all your emphasis on your top three players. Giving all the kids on your team a proper practice schedule and attention is just as important. In many cases you will find a few more talented players that have just not had the same exposure yet and will develop quickly.
I think these are three of the most important items about coaching a U10 soccer team. It is less about position or plans but about player development. The great thing about being a soccer coach is the opportunity to impact a kids life.