This stage of a child’s football journey is all about being engaged having fun and developing the fundamentals of the greatest game in the world-football.

The following information aims to provide all parents/coaches with a basic introduction to coaching. These basic coaching tips, coupled with parenting skill already developed, will allow parents to effectively manage a small group of children and to deliver the activities outlined in the coaching manual under the guidance of the leader coach.

Role of Coaches/Parents

Parents and coaches are the driving force behind St.Mary’s Development Program.

Their role as coordinators, coaches and volunteers is fundamental to the success of the program


• To have fun

• Developing relationships with team mate and your coaching staff

• Teach our young footballers, the fundamentals of the game – kicking, handball, marking, team play, picking ball up of the ground and fitness

• Teach the rules of the game

• Develop and understand why we respect umpires, opposition players and your own coach

• Children learn the basics of fitness conditioning, including how to train and practise


• Plan all training sessions, be organised and prepared

• Keep up to date with modern coaching developments

• Develops are strong rapport with players, you must be positive, enthusiastic and encouraging

• Make training sessions fun and if you have a mixed gender team or mixed cultural team, buddy players up to help the emerging ‘stars’

• You are their Coaching mentor therefore, you must lead by example your actions speak louder than words

• You need to communicate effectively for your players to progress in their skills

Coaching Style

• When speaking to your players, always have them front and centre and ask them to keep their eyes on you

• Use your voice effectively to engage your players, you don’t have to yell

• Speak slowly, clear and precise don’t rush your instruction’s, ask them to repeat it so they understand what you are saying

• When giving instruction to keep their attention use their names while you are explaining the drill especially the boy who is mucking around down the back

• If they haven’t grasped the concept don’t get angry at them or show your frustrations, it may take a couple of goes to get it right!

• Remain positive and always encourage your players, reward them when they get it right, this is the best method

• To keep their attention don’t overload them with instruction, keep your points to two or three, don’t over complicate things keep it simple!

• Show, Practice, Instruct and Reward – SPIR is a teaching method to effectively coach children.

• Characteristics of a Good Teacher/Coach: Learn communication strategies and positive approaches to effectively coach children.

• Positive, enthusiastic and encouraging: Be aware of the physical, emotional, social and skill-learning characteristics of children and learn how to cater for each

• Make sure you have a good assistant who can help you out at training and on game day

• Encourage parents to come and help you on your training night, this will make training become more effective and efficient.

Tips for taking activities

• Keep children active at all times. The easiest way to accomplish this is by avoiding long queues and having ample equipment (no more than six children in a line)

• Maximise the practical work time – less instruction and more activity

• Maximise the use of footballs (at least one between two children wherever possible)

• Minimise the time moving between activities – ensure you have equipment set up and provide clear instructions

• If your activity is not working as you planned, adapt it to achieve the desired results

Group coaching

Coaches will be required to teach children in groups. In order to do this smoothly and efficiently, coaches will need to position themselves so they are seen and heard by all participants. They will also need to establish boundaries within which the program will operate.

Formations for group coaching

Coaches need to establish appropriate formations for group instruction and practice.

A good formation for coaching is one that:

• Enables the coach to see and hear all the players and vice versa

• Is quickly and easily formed

• Minimises distractions – away from extraneous noise and other movement, out of the wind or sun if these are a distraction

• Is used regularly so children are familiar with it and how and where to set it up

Handy hints

• Have children sit down

• All eyes on the coach – no one behind the coach

• Small children to the front, taller children to the back

• Coach to face the sun

• Coach to speak with the wind behind them

• Use your whistle sparingly- but USE it!

• Minimise distractions by assembling away from other noise or something going on behind the coach

• Ask random questions to keep them focused

• Remember not to speak too long – two points/30 secs will do


• Don’t overdo regulation

• Try to strike a balance between freedom and direction

• Maintain order by establishing clearly what is expected in regard to:

o Behaviour

o Sportsmanship

o Punctuality

o Cooperation

• Explain to players consequences of action (if old enough) and reasoning behind each of the rules

• Use parents/adults to assist in this process

• Be consistent and follow through with consequences to a child’s actions

Benefits to children

• Children learn the fundamental motor skills for future physical activity and sports participation

• Children learn the basics of fitness conditioning, including how to train and practise

• Children learn the basic principles and importance of health and nutrition

• Through specially arranged physical activities and games, some very important mental and psychological skills are nurtured. These include self- motivation, self-responsibility, self-management, persistence, resilience and a best effort always attitude

• Through specially arranged team activities, children learn important social skills, including cooperation and respect for others

• Contact with older children and adults provides valuable role model experiences

• Generally, children benefit from greater levels of confidence and self- awareness and improved health, fitness and overall well-being

• Physical activity develops motor and social skills and intellectual capacities.

• Development program helps children develop to their full potential.