Youth Soccer Coaching – Dealing With Different Types of Players And Skill Levels

types of players and skill levelsThis is the 3rd and final part of a series that Koach Karl Dewazien, an expert on youth soccer coaching, wrote on how to work with different personalities and skill levels of athletes on your team….


Problem: Early physical maturing.

Signs: Teammates begin to rely on them to help win every game.

BAD SOLUTION: Coach siding with the individual, basking in his glory, he will add to the pressure.

  • Spending most of the time talking to the individual.

GOOD SOLUTION: Realize that no matter how much talent or self-confident the player is, they are as emotionally vulnerable as anybody on the team.

  • Make the player aware of the pressures that will arise in the future due to his potential level.
  • Be there during those times when things will not go as smooth as expected.
  • Work with the parents beforehand, so that past heroics don’t negate the work at present.
  • Let parents know not to make excuses for their child such as bad refereeing, etc…

THE LESS TALENTED PLAYERtypes of players and skill levels

Problem: Co-ordination problems, slow motor development.

Signs: Slow in picking-up basic techniques being taught.

BAD SOLUTION: Don’t overwhelm them with information. Have success at first before going on to second.

  • Don’t point them out to the rest of the team.
  • Avoid competition with better players.

GOOD SOLUTION: Be patient.

  • Go back to the fundamental stages of development
  • Try role reversal. Have them teach you the technique.
  • Give more group explanations to avoid pointing out the faulty player.
  • Realize that the child shows up because he is receiving something positive from the experience.
  • Try to give them a little extra attention (if possible)
  • Be honest and don’t give false hopes.
  • Point out that hard work, dedication and enthusiasm is appreciated but don’t set unrealistic goals.

THE SUBSTITUTEtypes of players and skill levels

Problem: Maintaining interest and enthusiasm of these players.

Signs: Not starters and little playing time.

BAD SOLUTION: Making them feel like practice dummies for the starters.

  • Identifying them as a separate and basically useless part of the team.

GOOD SOLUTION: Show concern about how each player is progressing toward their potential.

  • Make it clear that you care about each player and their progress, not just how much they are contributing to a win or a loss.
  • Make them feel that they are contributing to the team effort.

THE LATE BLOOMERtypes of players and skill levels

Problem: Physically smaller than his peers.

Signs: Visual.

BAD SOLUTION: Not allowing them to play and experience for themselves.

  • Choosing them last for any team activity.

GOOD SOLUTION: Make them feel good about themselves despite their lack of talent or size.

  • Give them a chance to mature both mentally and physically by equal participation.

If we did not cover a certain ‘personality’ for you – let us know and we will do our best to answer your questions.  Also, if you have ideas suggestions on ‘how to’ deal with specific personalities – Please give us your ideas in the comments below.

Get tips on coaching mental toughness in our mental toughness video series.

types of players and skill levelsYou can reach Koach Karl at his email address: or visit his websites: &

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And that’s just the beginning of learning mental toughness and coaching techniques. If you want that competitive advantage for your athletes, go to: Perform Under Pressure for free video training to turbo-charge confidence, build resiliency, and learn life skills through participation in sports.

If you missed the first part of this series, click here!

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