Soccer Coaching Styles Training Drill

Coaching Styles

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What is a coaching style?

A soccer coaching style consists of how you do things, how you communicate and what kind of character you reveal during all the aforementioned.
A coaching style shows….
How to coach youth soccer is how a coach conducts a session and manages a game, talks with and leads players, disciplines and rewards players, is perceived by his environment (other coaches, referees, players and parents and other people involved in the game) and how much responsibility is given to players that effect the entire team.

“During practice the coach comes along with his own agenda and forces me to do something I don’t really want to do.” That’s a standard issue for a lot of kids playing soccer. So how exactly does a coach manage to give players what they really want and also what they need (despite the fact that those ideas may go into different directions)?

It is possible to categorize how coaches communicate their information into 3 different coaching styles: authoritarian, casual and cooperative.

With the authoritarian style, the coach shows what’s going to be done, how to get it done, and provides the answers to any problems. The casual style is put into action when a coach allows the players to decide what and how to do it on the field. With the cooperative style, the coach explains the information in such a way as to receive the player’s full commitment, creates conditions for problem-solving, and uses guided questions so players can be part of their own discovery process.

Listed here are all 3 styles in greater detail………

Authoritarian Style (Dictator) and his main characteristics:

The authoritarian coach makes all decisions without any input from players in the learning process. He makes players execute correctly by having them do what is being asked of them. His players must listen, absorb, and comply with his commands. Feedback is usually given by means of directions (e.g. “Do this, don’t do that”)


  • player learns discipline and structure
  • coach is usually very clear and organized in nature
  • coach may get players to respond quicker initially
  • coach may help an unfocused player to be reminded of what is important
  • coach can probably reduce management time with younger kids merely by telling them what exactly to execute and when


  • almost all players will simply make temporary adjustments with this type of approach and as a result feel powerless; for instance, players might perform the activity the coach instructed during a session, but might not understand it (or even trust it) enough to practice or do it on their own
  • it hurts a player’s confidence and self-esteem if the focus is always on submission; players may turn into robots who merely follow instructions and not develop their own sense of problem-solving and decision-making
  • it is quite possible for a coach to end up being negative when employing this method; some might overlook the fact that learning is a process and get upset if the player is unable to execute what is asked
  • coach normally has an attitude which is not enjoyable and thinks that he or she should be serious all the time or perhaps the player is not going to respond
  • coach’s focus is only on outcome; as a result, players don’t always improve very well beyond the youth level when correct development of skill and decision making continues to be ignored as the coach demands to cut corners tactically in order to win.


This is never an effective style with very young players who require massive amounts of positive support and reassurance.

It might help the players learn how to follow orders, but will likely not assist the young players to acquire a positive mindset and/or a good character for that matter.

Casual Style (Supervisor) and his main characteristics:

The casual coach generally allows the players to run the program and determine his coaching. He tends to make as few decisions as possible as his approach presents little or no direction, discipline, or instruction. It surely may be the least difficult style to put into action and is often utilized by coaches that happen to be inexperienced or very naive about coaching.

Of course, the players usually prefer this particular style of coaching. However, the biggest problem utilizing this ‘lazy’ style is the fact that the players do not develop a lot from the lack of direction and guidance the coach provides. For instance, the coach might only concentrate on the things being done well. Without any guidance about what should be worked on, the player continuously repeats a habit which hasn’t been effective up to this point.


  • players may get excited about soccer more easily
  • players may develop a better feeling for problem-solving and decision-making as they run the “show”
  • players get a better chance to develop their own “voice”


  • coaches who embrace this style normally don’t have the skills or knowledge necessary to teach
  • discipline problems tend to be hardly ever addressed and so remain out of control till they turn into a major problem
  • coaches have little if any objectives and so hardly motivate or develop players to learn new skills and concepts
  • good players become better, the bad ones become worse


Being a casual coach, you might be more a babysitter/supervisor rather than a teacher. Apply it only on the condition that you have total confidence in your players. Don’t be scared to make use of this style, but use it wisely!

Cooperative style (Teacher) his main characteristics:

A coach who implements this style is one who guides and shares the decision-making process with the players, while recognizing the responsibility to provide leadership with the goal being to form a ‘team’. Through the use of questions, he also helps to set out objectives and goals on what to do, and how to do it in cooperation with his players. As result they will work harder to achieve these goals set by the team and will show more respect. Also they will be more willing to listen if they know that some of their ideas will be adopted with the coach being genuinely interested in their opinions as a whole and not just in their skill or ability to perform or help the team win. A coach should always show an interest in his players outside of the game itself which makes him more approachable if a player or the team has questions or concerns.


  • players are taking an active part during their very own discovery process, which generally strengthens their level of commitment, the chance for long-term changes and less player burnout
  • a better relationship is set-up between coach and players which increases the amount, variety, flexibility and quality of information exchanged
  • players are less intimidated to explore ideas and ask questions
  • players become decision makers and learn that process is more important than outcome
  • coach gets more feedback from the student so they are more aware of how to improve the learning environment and individualize it
  • the increased use of questions typical in this approach helps equip students to solve their own problems and be less ‘coach dependent’ which creates a sense of ownership


  • coaches may fall into the trap of asking questions that are too broad and lead students into lengthy, unnecessary discussions
  • coaches may talk too much and therefore lessen the experience for the players to learn the skills necessary
  • typically coaches hold some sort of false belief that this kind of method suggests that there might be no structure and players will be able to do whatever they like and take charge of the field (even though a lesson is fully ‘player-centered, it should still be, ‘coach driven’)


Unless young people are given the opportunity to express opinions and make decisions, they will not become responsible adults which is the most important goal in all of this.

Which style to use?

Coaches are people who make a difference in the lives of their players, the players’ homes, and the local community. His or her decisions might impact a variety of areas of a player’s life which needs to be factored in when a soccer coaching style is selected.

Coaches all too often go with a style determined by their personality and limit themselves and their effectiveness from the outset. Depending on the make-up, needs and goals of an individual and team, a good coach will draw from experience and use each style at different times. The cooperative style is recommended if your players can take on the responsibility of ownership and when the situation calls for learning progressive skill sets, decision-making, and problem-solving.

Casual is best suited when a coach wants to excite players for the sport or when team morale needs improvement.

Authoritarian would help in case the team isn’t focused and requires to be reminded of what is important. Then again, the coach may very well apply his favorite style in virtually any of these scenarios or go with a particular one he believes is appropriate.