Secrets to Developing Confident Players

The following post comes from Karl Dewazien, CEO/Internet Clinician at FUN SOCCER Enterprises. 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

In order to succeed you need A Plan, Commitment to carry out the plan and Consistency. When your players see and hear a consistent message from you, it reinforces your coaching way in their minds. By knowing what they can expect from you and hearing it over and over, they will begin to assign a higher value and trust in your coaching, and it will show them that you take your coaching seriously.

Planning and sticking to the plan is a vital life skill. Regular schedules provide the practice with a framework that puts order into a player’s world. Establishing a routine is difficult at first. However, it is important to note that while predictability can become tedious for coaches, players thrive on sameness and repetition. Experts on player development will tell you that routine’s and predictability in practices and games help players become more confident.

Routines begin from the first practice session, and often we find ourselves working with players who have not had the structure needed to thrive. When a player does not know what to expect, they show signs of anxiety and stress through challenging behaviors. By establishing routines and structure, it enables a player to feel secure in their environment. Knowing what to expect, diminishes a lot of negative, reactive behaviors.

Establish a Theme

Practice session become more productive if you and your players are aware of what specific (theme) will be improved. You will be less intrusive because you will focus on only one technique or tactic to improve. You will be less annoying because you will not continuously interrupt play to make a ‘point of refinement’. Your players will know ahead of time why you are stopping them during the ‘cooperative’ portion of practice. Your players will be more at ease because they will become aware that they can make mistakes without constantly being reminded that one was made during the ‘competitive’ portion of practice.

Carefully observe your team playing either a practice or regular season game. Take very detailed notes when you determine: Who is having difficulties? What is the major difficulty or weakness? Key on this one weakness and make it your theme to be discussed, developed and improved at the next practice session.

Taking mental and written notes can be rather difficult because many of us become ball watchers, become emotionally involved in the action, managing player’s and assessing and assisting the referee! But, by taking mental and written notes you can avoid these negative results and actually become a proper role model for both players and parents.

Be consistent but flexible: Consistency is the key, but you have to make time for the unexpected. As soon as possible return to the routine.

Be a role model: Players will look to the coach in their playing development to understand how to react to challenging situations. Maintaining a calm demeanor helps to reassure your players that they can overcome their own feelings of fear or anxiety.

Final Note: Thank you for taking the time to read this article and Sharing it with your soccer community. Clicking Like and Commenting on this subject is also very much appreciated

Your FUNdamental,

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)

·        Emeritus Director of Coaching - California Youth Soccer Assoc. (1979-2012)

·        Author - Internationally Published FUNdamental SOCCER Books Series

·        Producer - highly acclaimed ‘9-Step Practice Routine’ DVD.

·        Clinician at: