Fifteen Coaching Tips

By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck

On the field for another season? Here are fifteen brief coaching tips to help you get the most out of your players and better enjoy your own experience.

  1. Take five or ten minutes after every practice and ask each player what they learned during that day’s session. Not only does this help you as a coach understand how well you communicated, but it serves as a great reinforcement and reminder of what was just covered.

  2. Show, don’t tell. Instead of simply telling a player he needed to do something differently, ask him to show you how it should have been done properly. If he can’t show you, you show him.

  3. When players make mistakes, your reaction should be tempered by the player’s effort. If he didn’t try or wasn’t paying attention that is one thing. But if a player was giving 100% and just did not make the play, he should be encouraged and praised for the effort instead of scolded about the result.

  4. If you promise something to your players, follow through. Kids don’t forget.

  5. Make sure every child has been picked up by a family member before you go home.

  6. What’s best for the team is not always what’s best for the individual. It is important that all players and parents know that up front. If they can’t subscribe to this philosophy then maybe they should do an individual sport like tennis or swimming or track and field.

  7. Players (especially young ones) should call the coaches either, “Coach”, “Coach (first name)” or “Coach (last name),” not just by a first name.

  8. If you are coaching really young players, kneel down and get at eye level when talking to them.

  9. Safety first! Check your entire practice area and imagine the worst. Try to envision anything that might trip a player or that someone could fall onto going for a ball. Store equipment so that it can never come into play. Get any player who is not participating safely out of the way of those who are.

  10. Make every attempt to treat each player equally. It is natural to like some more than others, but your behavior should not reflect those feelings.

  11. Look for something each player did well and make a point of mentioning it before they go home.

  12. Occasionally before a practice, go around and ask your players what they think the team should work on today. Almost without fail, the things you planned on covering will be suggested anyway, but this creates a feeling of ownership in your players that is invaluable. And it helps you to see which players are really thinking about how the team can improve.

  13. End every practice or game with solidarity. Everyone gets together, puts their hands in and says, “One, two, three, (TEAM)” at the end.

  14. You can overcome a lot of deficiencies with enthusiasm. Even if you’re not the greatest coach or don’t have the best talent, if you spend every minute on the field encouraging and exhorting your team, even when you’re way behind, your players will want to give their best and their parents will love you.

  15. Enjoy every moment. You’ve been given a rare privilege, and it goes by too fast.

Brian Gotta is President of CoachDeck LLC ( He can be reached at