How to Get Soccer Players to be Brave & Aggressive
Best Soccer Positions for Weak Players
A True Story from U12 Soccer Coach
How to Teach the Basics to Soccer Goalkeepers
Having Fun and Also Developing Good Soccer Players

(Below is a letter from a U12 coach and my reply. It talks about how to motivate soccer players to be brave and aggressive, the best soccer positions for weak players and how to teach the basics to soccer goalkeepers.)

Hi David,

It has been a while since we last communicated. I feel compelled to stay in touch as I continue to use and the Motivational Soccer patches. In fact, I recently ordered another round for my U12 Coed Rec team and have already awarded several patches. Perhaps the greatest value in the patches is the ability to be able to reward some of the lesser talented players. Before using Motivational Soccer Patches the only recognition I could give a player who was not scoring goals or making great stops or great saves, was to tell them they played a great game. Encouraging words are wonderful for young players to hear. But, when those words are for specific accomplishments and a cool patch, which is like a badge of honor, comes along with it, it magnifies the effect of those encouraging words. I want to share the following story because I think it is important and that you will enjoy reading it.

This season, I am blessed with some solid talent that returned from last season when we went 10-0 and won the league championship. However, I do have a few new players. One of the boys, who I will call Adam, very obviously has not played soccer before and he is not very athletic. He seems quite lost with the ball at his feet and even more so on the field at times. The other players have certainly noticed that he is not a very good ball player at this time. I can see them roll their eyes and make grimacing facial expressions when he is in the game. It is a challenging situation, because 8 of the 12 players I have coming back have experienced great success at this level of play. And, now the team has one player who is sorely out of place. I have to remind myself that my boys are only 10-11 years old and that I can't be sure how much this young man might improve with some good coaching and the right encouragement.

So, I see this situation as an opportunity to make an impact on a young boy who needs a little confidence booster. We have played 4 games this season. In game 2, I began playing Adam at outside MF and told him he only had defensive responsibilities. We play a 2-1-3-1 and push one of the outside MFs into our attack. I only allow one MF at a time to push up into the attack. When this young man is in the game, our plan changes. He simply hangs out in the Mid-Field just above the Stopper and is essentially an extra defender. His job is simply to slow down any attacker that tries to come through. He has our Center Midfielder usually in front of him and our Stopper behind, which means he has a lot of support. But, every game he tells me he wants to play Goal Keeper. The first game I let him play Goal Keeper and it was a disaster and our only loss of the season. He played the MF spot as instructed and actually had 2-3 touches on the ball and one very good pass. We were up 3-1 with about 10 minutes to play and I put him in at Keeper. He was shot on twice and stopped both shots, plus he got the ball back out nicely.

After the game, I had the boys sitting on the ground and I was awarding patches. I decided to give Adam a "B" patch for Bravery. I pulled the patch from the bag and said, "I am awarding Adam with the Bravery patch for his two excellent saves in the goal. And for following specific instructions in playing Midfield today." As he took the patch from my hand, several of the boys started to clap for him spontaneously. Their response was remarkable. I have been giving out Soccer Patches for a few years now and I have never had that happen. The encouragement and joy they showed for him was unbelievable. They genuinely seemed more excited that he had earned a patch than they were about earning one themselves.

Later that night his mother called me. She thanked me for being so nice to all the boys and encouraging them so much. She went on to tell me that Adam did not want to play soccer before the season because he did not think he was good enough. She and her husband pushed him into it so he could get some exercise hoping he might like it. I recounted how the other boys had clapped for him earlier in the day. She had noticed their response as well. And said that Adam 's confidence was really high. At dinner that night he told her and his father that he was really having fun and that he wanted to keep trying to get better. Then he said, "Mom, if I keep trying to get better, maybe I can play again next year."

This young man has gone from thinking he was not good enough to even be on a team, to having fun and wanting to improve this season so he can come back for more! He has a long way to go as a player. But in Rec Soccer it's all about having fun. Winning is more about winning the hearts of the players than about the score.

It is amazing what a little one inch soccer patch can do!!!

Even though I have been using them for years, I wanted to thank you again for all you do and for encouraging me to start using Motivational Soccer Patches!

Coach Brad, U12 Coed Rec, Premium Member


Hi Brad, Wow!!!! What a great, inspirational story - thanks for sharing it. You describe very well the best way to use the soccer patches for motivation and why they work.

You have become a really great coach in all respects - technically and as a motivator. You have the ability to have fun AND to develop good soccer players, the perfect combination.

I think there are several great lessons in your letter:

  1. How to motivate players and the importance of motivation AND how to use the motivational soccer patches to motivate your players. Look at the turn-around in the attitude of his teammates - from rolling their eyeballs to spontaneous cheering to praise his success - that is amazing!!!!!
  2. The importance and Power of encouraging and praising Bravery. I think every kid wants to be Brave (and adults too) because it is a trait we value and Heroes are Brave. The B Patch works great for that.
  3. The difficulties Rec soccer coaches can face due to having mixed players and why assigning positions and the choice of formations is very important. You are finding a way to help your weakest player to be a successful part of the team who the other players encourage instead of resenting. You are finding a way to create a fun experience for your entire team.
  4. I really like your idea about how you played the weak player at the outside MF soccer position and how on your attack you had him shift to the Center as an extra Defender in front of the Stopper - that is smart - at the very least, in that position he would force your opponents to go around him which would slow down their attack and give your players extra time to recover to defensive positions.
  5. I like how you recognized that Goalie can be a good position for a slow, unskilled player, IF he can play there some it might be good for your team IF the normal Goalie is a better field player than Adam is. I like how you are easing him into it when you are in the lead. SUGGESTION -- On Premium re-read the section "How to Teach Soccer Goalkeeping" and ask him to stay after practice for 15 minutes to show him how to properly catch the ball, how to punt it and how to shift with the ball to have the best angle to stop a shot (how to split the shooting angle) AND how to stay 2 steps in front of the goal.

Thanks again. Please let me know how the rest of your season goes. Thanks for sharing.

David at SoccerHelp  


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