COLUMN: Always stick to a theme

In January we ran our first coaching clinic of the year. The theme was “How to structure a session from the warm up to the game.”

By Brett Adams

Welcome to the second installment of the Nelson Youth Soccer Association’s coach’s corner in association with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

On January 22 we ran our first coaching clinic of the year. The theme of the clinic was “How to structure a session from the warm up to the game.”

This workshop consisted of an hour of practical demonstration followed by 30 minutes of theory with a question and answer. The workshop was well attended and I would like to thank all the coaches who were there on the evening.

The objectives from the workshop were:

• Understanding the importance of sticking to a theme, from the warm up to the game;

• Being able to get coaching points out effectively;

• Using the simple coach methodology, sticking to the task.

The four main phases were:

Warm up — Get players warm and focused, pin down early your coaching points and make sure your warm up fits your topic.


Technical — Progression from the warm up, start to challenge the players (make it opposed), reinforce coaching points and coach the technique.


Technical/Tactical —­ Make it look like the game, set targets/objectives for the players, give the players a chance, let mistakes happen and be patient.


Game — Players must be reminded “What you are working on,” this is not a free for all, give them a chance to play, correct only the key points.


Planning the session:

What: What do you want to work on? Only focus on your topic, don’t get caught up coaching multiple points, pick four or five key points and stay on task.

Why: Why are you working on this? Players need to know why, so tell them from the beginning; the players need to know what is expected from them in the session; ask the players questions about the topic.

How: How are you going to coach the topic (session plan); have an idea of what/why before you plan your session.

Evaluate: Did the session work? What was good about it? Improvements for next time…


Coaching Methodology:

Stay patient with the session, coach your points in order.

1. See it — See it happen

2. Correct it — Coach what you want from the session

3. Demo it — Give the players a demonstration (the players can also do this)

4. Let it play — Recreate what happened, let the players correct their mistakes.

The cycle will continue through the session.

I hope this has been helpful. For more information on this workshop or any related coaching topics please feel free to email me at

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