Are you a great coach?

Are you a great coach?

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What shows a great coach? This is a very difficult question with no final answer. The different answers are depending on the culture and the personality. In this post I will try to write, what I think is a great coach.

Here are the areas to be discussed in this article:

  • Preparation

  • Role model

  • Playing style

  • Coaching methodology

  • Communication


I think a coach must always be prepared for training and matches. When I was a player, I have had a lot of different coaches. Common to all the great ones were, that they were always prepared and had clear plan to work after in training and matches. The bad coaches were the opposite, they just showed up and were rarely prepared and also not very involved.

I myself use a lot of time to prepare training, so there is a ”red” line in the training, which stick to the training session’s theme, which again is based on the playing style.

I also prepare the staff and the players for every match. If you have time to go and watch your opponents, I recommend that you do it and take some notes about them, while you are there.

Good preparation also affect the players. They can see, that you are involved and engaged. I think that it makes each player think ”I also have to be engaged, like my coach”.

Role model

Especially when you coach youth players, you must act as a role model for the youngsters. They have to have a person, that they feel they can go to and also look up to.

I have played against youth teams at U14 level, that had coaches, who were shouting at them and used not so ”clean” words. This affected the players and when they got behind, they started to quarrel on the pitch. Also coaches who always shout at the referee will get players doing the same on the pitch.

Respect is the keyword, I think. You must respect all other people around you. Otherwise you won’t accomplish your mission.

”Be how you want your players to be.”

Playing style

Every serious coach no matter youth or senior level must have clear playing style, which they want to make their team play after.

You must know, how you want to defend and attack as a team. Transitions are also very important in the game. The seconds after you win or loose the ball can decide a match.

Every player in the team must also know their roles in the team and regarding to the playing style. You must make clear to every player, what his tasks are.

I have a clear playing style, that I want my team to play after. I have written it down in document and after every season, I review it and try to find ways to improve it.

Some examples:

  • How do you want to play out from the back (if that is your style)?

  • How do you want to defend corner kicks?

  • How do you want to create scoring opportunities from the wings?

  • How do you want to create scoring opportunities from the center?

  • Where do you want to win the ball back (all over the pitch or maybe in specific zones)?

  • How do you want to defend (high/medium or low pressure, Marking (zonal, man or combi etc.)

  • How do you want to act the time you win the ball or loose the ball?

Once you got a playing style, then it will be much easier to plan training, because you always use your playing style to plan the training from.

”If you don’t know how you want to play, how should your players then?”

Coaching methodology

I think that every coach should have a preferred methodology to coach after. The great coaches have, like Mourinho, he uses the global methodology (try Google it).

Do you want a lot functional training? I think it depends on the level you are coaching. U10 need a lot more functional training than U17. They need more tactical.

I prefer to coach after the global methodology, but combined with the functional methodology. To me it is important, that we practice every aspects of the games through games, both SSG and 11v11.

Another good experience I have also made so far is, that I have a clear structure for my session. When we practice 2 hours, then I structure my training one way and when we practice 1,5 hours I structure it in another way.

This also make the players comfortable, because they quickly notice the structure for a session.

Also don’t try to impress your players with new fancy drills every session, just to show them that you have a huge repertoire. Stick to your playing style and develop effective drills to implement the style.


Every misunderstanding is caused by bad communication between the involved persons. Therefore communication skills are very important, if you want to get your message through to the players or the club.

I have been at a club, where communication was bad. A single person or small groups where communicating differently about the same things at the club. That led to a lot of frustration and confusion among the coaches, parents and other members of the club.

So communicate precisely because not every person interpreters your words or sentences in the same way. And be sure that your message was delivered correctly. This is also the case when practicing/coaching on the pitch and guiding in matches.

No matter what club I work for, I always give my best to be like, I described in this article.

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  1. Brian 05.03.2013 17:15

    Great read. You mention in the post your playing style. Are you willing to share? can you email it to me? I have my own document about how my team plays (18 year old)but i am always seeking out better ways to structure, organize or think about it.

    Thank you for your time!

  2. Daniel K. Theemann 06.03.2013 08:32

    Hi Brian,

    I’m glad you like my post.

    Sorry, but I don’t want to share my “bible” of how I want to play. It is too personal for me to share.

    I hope you understand.


  3. Brian 06.03.2013 16:27

    I do understand. And thank you for the consideration.

    Best of luck!

  4. Abel Lorincz 07.10.2014 21:11

    Having a clear playing style can improve your team so much, simply because most teams don’t have one. If you are working with youngsters you might not have a written document, but showing video, and making the same points over and over again (in different ways so that it doesn’t get boring) are crucial.

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