The following is a guest post from Graham Ramsay, originally posted by Karl Dewazien. Koach Karl is the author and publisher of the world-famous “FUNdamental Soccer” book series, the cornerstone of Youth Soccer practice and Small Sided games. Find out more at www.fundamentalsoccer.com.
How do you take you take a losing program and turn it around into a positive one. Not just results wise but across the whole program. If its been a traditional losing program then major surgery is required starting with new management and a fresh approach.
The past is the past but retain any positive vestiges from that experience. New energy needs to be created to spark life into a struggling body. You might try these immediate steps:-
(a) Playing on a smaller pitch. Pro’s immediately understand the importance of space, amateurs rarely do. If you are playing on a regular sized pitch and your opponent is superior then a loss is coming your way. By shrinking the pitch and getting organized you can negate their ability to where you have leveled the gap in ability.
(b) Fitness. Unfit players and teams deserve to lose.
(c) Playing Surfaces. If you have the facility of two or more different playing surfaces then let your opponent always play on a alien pitch. That is if they always play on “turf” then put them on grass and vice versa.
(d) New uniforms. Leeds United when their coach Don Revie took over a struggling 2nd. Division team he immediately changed the strip by copying the best team in the world – Real Madrid. It signaled a new beginning & attitude.
(e) Tactically organized so players understand their role and what is needed to make the team compete.
(f) Keeping training and playing scores/records. Its an important part of the process – be it passing records, fitness scores,etc.and highlight new records. If you have a notice board put the scores up or your team manager emails the new records to everyone. Promote energy all the time. Over the course of time
(g) Getting players involved in community programs. It maybe coaching at a local program or club to even helping with another sport or charity.
(h) Being proud of your efforts and the team. It all helps to change the climate into a positive mentality.
(i) Top class behavior – set the standard.
(j) No I-Phones or headphones at team times. We all plug into the team & each other when we are together, not gadgets. As they say “there is no “I” in team.