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When you’re young, any hobby or activity should be more about fun and enjoyment than anything else. Through being happy and well occupied, a young person will be more willing and able to learn, while having the chance to develop their personality and discover the direction that they want to go in life.

And, when it comes to youth football, this should be no exception. Above everything else, as a coach, you should want to ensure that your players are enjoying themselves, because if they aren’t, then one thing is sadly for certain, that attendance will be likely to suffer.

So, how can you be sure that your youth players are having a good time, while they develop their football skills?

Ways to keep your youth team happy

  • Do they smile and laugh a lot? Not in a mucking about and misbehaving kind of way, as this might indicate boredom. But are they clearly enjoying what they’re doing? One way to get the ball rolling is by being happy to laugh at yourself and join in with the fun at times. It can help players to realise that it’s ok to enjoy what they’re doing.
  • Are you approachable as team coach? If they feel able to ask questions and talk to you, then this means that they feel comfortable – something which goes hand in hand with happiness when you’re young.
  • Keep things moving. Ensure that there’s a lot to do and avoid the standing around time. Not only can younger players get cold and miserable during the less sunny months, but, if they’re bored, they’re more likely to misbehave and not listen.
  • Make everything achievable. By all means set your team a challenge, so that they can get some feeling of accomplishment from the things they do, but likewise, make sure it’s not too difficult, or they will be likely to lose interest.
  • Give praise and reassurance when players do well. Young players can be quite insecure, so focus on what they’re good at, rather than giving criticism and build up their confidence while you do.
  • In a similar way to the above, keep players engaged. You will be less likely to lose their interest. So, take away external factors that might break their concentration, such as ensuring it’s you and not them who is looking into the sun when you’re talking to them and keep any talks that you give short, interesting and to the point. Then follow it up with something active.
  • Include everyone. Friendship groups can be made within football teams, so look out for the players who maybe aren’t part of a group and help them to feel involved too.

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Find out more about how your team could be involved today.

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