How can coaches help their teams be more physical?

As young players move through the age groups the physical side of the game will start to come into play. In this article, we look at how coaches can help their players to be more physical.

Mar 16th 2022

Written by The Coaching Manual

It is often the case in youth football that teams are proficient in the technical side of the game when it comes to matches but when they are faced with a more physically developed side they are found wanting. 

At grassroots level, this extra physicality can easily close the gaps between two teams’ technical abilities. So it can be really important to look at ways you as a coach can help your players to develop the physical side of their game.

Focused activities in training

Focusing on a wide range of activities in training that focus on developing players physically can be a good way for coaches to solve this problem. The key is to deliver said activities in a fun way so that the players don’t feel like they are working too hard.

Here are some tips on how to do this:

  • Lots of small sided games - You may even want to make it so that one team has more players than the other so that it creates more physical encounters, 50/50 challenges etc.
  • Include fun some warm up contact activities - such as tag rugby, tag etc to boost the development of their speed, agility and strength.
  • Set your players challenges away from training to help progress their physical attributes - TopTekkers is the perfect way to do this as you can set training plans within a matter of minutes and then track the progress of your players.

There are also plenty of strength, agility and speed sessions available on The Coaching Manual platform to help players reach their potential. Check some of them out here:

Let it develop naturally

There is an argument that players will develop this physicality naturally over time and that it shouldn’t be forced upon them, especially at a young age.

It is common knowledge that young people develop at different speeds, so where some of your players may be more physically able their teammates might still be a bit behind. Giving players time and just letting them play their football can sometimes be the best way to go about things.

Encourage other sports

Encouraging your players to try different sports away from football can be massively helpful. Sports such as rugby and boxing will obviously boost a player’s ability to be more physical in games due to the contact situations that can’t be avoided. 

On top of this, it will help to develop their confidence when engaging in the contact/physical aspects of sports. For instance, in football it is common for young players to shy away from challenges in fear of getting hurt therefore more exposure to these types of situations in other sports can only help.

Other non-contact sports such as swimming, athletics and tennis can help players to develop physically in a slightly different way. Regular activity within these sports will help to grow and build the key muscles across the body that are used when playing football.

Check out this article to learn more about the benefits of encouraging your players to try different sports.

Summary

As a coach, it’s wise to look at both sides of this and take points from each. Firstly, it’s important to accept that some players will just have to take their own time when it comes to the physical side of the game. 

On the flip side, the best players in your team at the moment may not necessarily be the best players in a few years time as the less physically developed players start to catch up. So it’s important for coaches to support each player wherever they are on their footballing journey.

Having said this it can do no harm for coaches to introduce some of the activities previously mentioned in an effort to speed up certain aspects of physical development.

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