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“Soccer is psychology!” If you are only working on soccer exercises, your team’s inprovement will be limited. Even if the player has great qualifications, perfectly timed passes and an incredible running ability, the necessary implementation of these abilities during the game might be missing. In order for players to be as good in the game as they are during training, professional clubs have used a strategy that any club in the world can afford – the power of motivation to build a player’s confidence.

How do you motivate properly?

It is best done in a team meeting, where all players are present and the effect on the so-called “Key Player” is the greatest. Nevertheless, the right approach is crucial here. If your key player is a technical player, you should then emphasize his abilities with the ball. For a good runner, emphasize running performance and if he is a striker his composure.

There are many ways to correctly address the team and each coach has his own expressions he likes to use. These, he should only use strategically and always improve upon. It requires experience. For example I do it like this:

“Guys, today we have an important game against a strong opponent. They are like a machine when they get in front of the goal, with shots scoring goals every time. We must try to prevent them from getting in front of the goal. Marc and Jordan, since the two of you make a great team, you’ll be our central defence. You are great at challenging your opponents duals, both in the air and on the ground. Your mission is to prevent the striker from breaking through to the middle and getting a shot at the goal.”

Such a compact speech is often already enough to make it clear to your players where their strengths lie and how they can use them. There is no tactical muzzle attached to the players, as they are first simply given an objective: “We have to prevent the opponents from getting in front of the goals”. Subsequently they get a solution to this objective: “You two, since the two of you make a great team, you’ll be our central defence. You are great at challenging your opponents duels, both in the air and on the ground.”

How do you motivate an individual without tactical requirements?

It works on a similar principle as already mentioned. Only what you say must be presented to the player convincingly, as though it were obvious. For example:“Florian, look, their left-back is very vulnerable on his right foot. Do yourself a favour, you’re very quick with the ball and with a fast dribble in his direction, followed by a change of direction to his left, you can very easily get past him. Try it, maybe it will work out,” This type of communication triggers a curiosity in players. The player will automatically search for an opportunity where he can try this option. If it however does not work, it does not demotivate the player, since the coach said “maybe it will work out”.

For years I have tested this with children of different age groups and came to the conclusion that this type of communication helps children the most up until U14. Players get the chance to develop without the fear of making mistakes. It should not be forgotten that each player responds differently and you have to first find the right approach before it works.

I wish you much success and a good start to the new season!

This article was written by our user Ercument Sahin. Ercument is a soccer coach (UEFA B-Lizenz) and creates exercises with our drawing tool on a regular basis. You can find more exercises in our database. We are always happy about users sharing their ideas and mindsets on coaching. If you would like to share your knowledge with the community, contact us at!
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