If you’re a soccer coach, it goes without saying that if you can’t see and be with your team, it’s a challenge to train them. However, particularly in these difficult times of isolation due to COVID-19, there are innovative ways to engage with your players that not only sustain training but teach new soccer habits and important life skills.
At Techne Futbol, we have made it our mission to create and perfect a program used by players for individual training they can do on their own, any time and anywhere. During this enforced isolation, this type of training has of course become the norm. However, it is during this challenge that your coaching can especially help guide players, as well as bring you and the team together to create a unique bond.
Here are some tips to keep you coaching, and your players playing, with maximum benefits.
1 - Make Training Programs Concrete
As a coach, you utilize your expertise during training sessions to develop skills in a methodical and appropriate fashion. The same should be true for individual training. It is usually too vague and difficult, especially for younger players, to simply say: Go out and train on your own. A concrete, specific program--prescribed drills, time spent, record keeping--is deliberate and methodical, and helps provide the necessary structure and guidance for success.
2 - Set a Weekly Standard
Set a weekly minimum standard for your players of how much you expect them to train. It is important to make that standard manageable, so all players gain the satisfaction of achieving it. There will be players who exceed that minimum, to whom you give a shout-out or special recognition. Overall, this standard gives you a chance to celebrate your players, and what they have achieved.
At Techne, we recommend for players a minimum standard of one hour per week of training on their own. (That standard may obviously be changed in-season and during times of regular team training to something more in the range of 15-20 minutes/week). This minimum, very achievable standard (e.g. 10 minutes a day), gives everyone a sense of success. Assigning a general standard, such as: “Let’s see who can do the most training”—can be counterproductive if it makes some players feel they “come up short.” What’s more, we always stress that quality and consistency of training is the goal over simply racking up time spent. The Techne app allows both coaches and players to check the results to see that players are adhering to your advice.
For older, college or pro teams, consider having your captains and/or their teammates set this minimum training standard for themselves. This way, they can practice leadership skills as well as hold themselves personally accountable for their own training.
3 - Emphasize Quality and Consistency
Help players to understand that the most productive way to train on their own is with the focus on quality and consistency. The goal is to train with concentration, and for the recommended minimum every single week, and every month—so that individual training can become habit. Remind your players that even with just 10 minutes a day they will end up with over 60 hours in a year. These habits can be reinforced by you encouraging them to keep a training streak in the app.
4 - Create a Specific Training Focus
Add to the structure of individual training by making a daily plan within the weekly plan. Such a daily focus might be something like this: Monday- Wall Work, Tuesday- Dribbling, Wednesday- Juggling Time Trials, etc. If other circumstances intervene, such as inclement weather preventing outdoor activity, you can also encourage players to do the Techne Living Room Training, or a Bodyweight Strength session from the app.
Ordinarily, the Techne app is very “hands-off,” with players able to negotiate their own weekly and daily training schedule. However, because of the current circumstances, your coaching guidance can be more “hands-on.” Coaches have access to see the training app that the players use as well as the Manager Portal to track progress. We recommend that all coaches log into the training app to be able to see what their players see and provide this guidance.
5 - Tips to Facilitate A Team Chat or Check-in
You can use Zoom or another video conference platform to hold regular team talks during this time. If you do use video capability, it might be fun as well as instructive to organize everyone doing one or more of the drills together during the chat time. That includes you, as the coach! Below are few general tips on the team chat that might be useful:
- Have an agenda in place that you share with the group, and a set general amount of time for the length of the chat. That way everyone is on the same page about how long it will be and what the group plans to accomplish.
- Leave time at the conclusion of the chat for a summary and any questions, discussion or feedback from your players.
- Issue a specific challenge or “call to action” for the next team chat.
- Consider inviting parents to participate if you feel that would be helpful.
At Teche Futbol, we are proud of our coaches and players, who are not only working to become better at their sport but setting an educational standard by emphasizing skills such as self-discipline, commitment and reaching for their goals.
If we can further support you in your efforts in any way, or if you’d like to get your team or club set up to use Techne, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.