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Hiding Players in Games? Do this...

You know the player in your team that you try to hide. Or try to 'strategically' put into the game so they don't mess it up?

Hide them at the #11, definitely not the #4. Maybe the #9 if you have fast outside players to run for them.

Maybe they are missing practices - Here in CA spring is also Baseball season and a lot of players do both. Right or wrong, that's not the issue. Issue is that it leads to them missing practices. They 'fall behind', lack an understanding of concepts, but still show up on Saturday for the game.

Or perhaps you picked a player who showed really well in tryouts and it turns out they are unable to repeat that...

So, how to stop hiding them?

1 - Do everything you can to support them before the game.

a - Meet with them and their family. Understand what's going on (other sport, general confidence etc etc)

b - Send them the training plan with coaching points and moments so they can 'read'.

c - Give them a player profile so they can understand the position(s) they can expect to play.

d - Give them positional objectives for the game at the weekend.

di - You're going to play #3 and your goal is to move the ball forward to a team mate 3 times in the game.

dii - You're tasked with making 3 blocks in todays game.

2 - Give them fair playing time.

If you give 50% playing time, then stick with it, unless you have a reason to limit playing time (lack of attendance and communication etc.), but it is unlikely you're coaching elite level soccer and struggling with this so keep in mind that grassroots soccer is played by everyone, and is for everyone, including those with one foot in soccer and the other in baseball.

Get them game time with another team?

The only way to improve is by doing. They registered to your team, so give them time on the field.


I coach a wonderful group of 2016's.

Ten players playing 7v7.

At the half of each half I sub 3 players.

Early on I did, but now I do not, look at the bench and think 'Oh no, I need to get him on the field'.

I stayed true to the development purpose of this age and maintained giving players the playing time.

So, at each half of a half I have no doubt that any player can go into almost any position and do the job they are asked to do.

7v7 might be easier, but if you are director, or someone of influence in a club, that is why you pay attention to the younger ages and create holistic development environments.

If you are a coach in this age, stay true to the purpose of this level of soccer - to instill a love of the game!

Then watch as they bloom!


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