It’s game day! ⚽️ 🥅 🏃🏽♀️
We know that every coach handles game day differently, so we asked some junior coaches to share their tips with us. Here are their top four tips:
1. Planning is important
Having a game plan before you turn up on the day is possibly the best prep a coach can do. Everyone likes to do this differently!
One coach told us she likes to plan and write down all the rotations so that this can be assigned to any parent helper on the day. Another coach told us he tries to break the game into quarters and sub at this point so not to break the flow of the game up to much. Of course this doesn’t always work if there’s an injury or if someone’s struggling.
As well as planning the rotations and player positions, it is also important to have a game plan. One of our coaches breaks the game plan into Team Tasks and Player Tasks – with key actions to take when attacking and defending. This is explained at the pre-game huddle, then he and the players will check against it during half time and at the end of the game.
Here is an example of his game plan.
2. Have a set warm up routine
All coaches agreed that having a set warm up routine helps to get the girls into game mode. It can also be helpful to use the same warm ups and drills you may be using in training as arrival activities, meaning that the team doesn’t have to learn anything new on game day.
Here are some helpful links for warm ups
3. Be positive and adaptable
There are going to be good games and not so good games! But it is important to stay positive and constructive during the match.
One coach told us that she likes to have a notepad and write down at least one positive action for each player and tell them about it at half time or after the game. This helps the player focus on doing more of what they are doing well.
Another coach told us that it is important to empower your players to decide what to do if things need changing. This is part of developing a “thinking player” and is an important part in your role of coach.
Excerpt from Skill Acquisition Manual
4. Use tools to help you manage
All coaches agreed that you need a coach’s board and magnets! This helps to visualise to the team their positions and to demonstrate key plays. As one of our junior coaches said:
“I didn’t start with one of these (a coach’s board) but found it a massive help when I did get one, especially in the early stages when the girls don’t really understand the positions they are being given. I bought mine from Pascoe Vale Soccer store as their boards were better than REBEL etc”
Another coach told us “The tools I use on game day are: my game day template (printed) with positions and rotations, an app called Coach’s Clock to measure player time and a coaches board and magnets. After the game I use a spreadsheet to record the game time for each player so I can keep this balanced out over the season. I also keep track of player goals in this spreadsheet.”