How to Make Your Players Feel Successful

It’s critically important to make sure that all of your players experience success. Without some level of achievement, it’s nearly impossible for them to enjoy themselves.  Success helps to keep players motivated and enthusiastic about playing soccer.

Success can come in a variety of forms.  Most people think of winning as success.  But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

We believe that you should forget about winning and focus instead on learning, celebrating each player’s individual improvements along with the triumphs of the team as a whole.

Here are just a few ways that you can celebrate those small, but meaningful accomplishments:

  • Run a mix of drills that vary in difficulty so EVERY player has the opportunity to succeed. Sometimes, just completing a drill can create a feeling of victory and satisfaction for your players.
  • Verbally reward and praise improvement.  Give your players lots of compliments when they’re doing well and let them know how much they have improved.  Congratulate them on the progress they’ve made.  It’s easy to forget how much they have grown as players, and it’s your job to remind them.
  • Reward hard work because this usually results in improvement too.
  • Measure performance and reward development.  Your options are unlimited here.  This can be as simple as tracking the number of shots they make during practice, then showing how much they improved a few weeks later.  It’s a “small” success that makes players feel good and motivates them to keep working.A few other things that you can measure include:

    – Number of goals scored
    – Number of defensive stops
    – Number of clean passes
    – Great communication to a teammate

    You see, not everything is about winning.

  • Don’t be overly critical. If you see that a player isn’t executing a drill properly, be sure to mention what they’re doing right as well. Players will respond better to criticism if it’s “sandwiched” between a couple of favorable comments.

PLEASE leave your thoughts and ideas below about making players feel successful..

4 Responses to How to Make Your Players Feel Successful

  1. Mzimkhulu August 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    what i do in my team we celebrate the little success as a team by going to the player who have perfomed something special and saluting that player.

  2. Mark Carter August 19, 2010 at 2:02 am #

    I completely agree that measuring factors such as shots-on-goal (and other such processes that comprise the ultimate outcome of winning) is useful. However what happens when thsi actually goes down rather than improves over the course of a few games?

    I think a better way of using measurements such as shots-on-goal is a part of a much wider system of goal-setting:
    1. Ask the team to decide what they want to achieve for the season (team outcome goal)
    2. Ask them: What do you need to achieve every match in order to accomplish this? These should be measurable (team process goals)
    3. Ask each player to set their own goals as to how they will contribute to these process goals (individual goals)

    This may take some weeks to complete. But by the end of it you will have targets which have been devised by the players themselves.

    The players should monitor all these goals. They can even lead half-time/post-match talks themselves based on how they feel they have achieved as a team. (As the season progresses you may need to change some goals).

    Celebrate everything that is achieved. Players should monitor their own (and each other’s?) individual goals. Sharing these goals helps team members to help each other succeed. It encourages praise and support on the pitch when players understand what each other are wanting to accomplish.

    In this system, players celebrate their own successes, and learn how to set their own goals, how to strive to achieve them, and how to help others to achieve theirs. Glorious lessons for the young to learn.

  3. Shawn Stevens August 19, 2010 at 4:24 am #

    After evry practice because we had so much fun and worked hard it get very hot , so I ( the coach ) start a water fight and get everyone wet the kids love it and always looks forward to getting the coach wet i also reward them with soccer stickers or tatoos . We have lots of fun

  4. Rob August 20, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    Every team has its own personality. It’s important that successes are rewarded for all players that do something well. If a player is able to perform a drill correctly he/she should receive recognition for it but also stress to the players how one person’s success influences the entire team in a good way. Ultimately it’s of utmost importance that a kid feels good about what he/she did in the context of helping the team unit.

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