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Players gather round their coach to listen to his instructions during a football tournament on the indoor 3G pitch at St. George's Park.

Before the match

First things first: check in with your team. Ask about their week, find out how they’re feeling and address any issues they raise.

Once everyone’s caught up, shift your focus to the task at hand. Chat to your players about how they want to approach the match. Then, assign some responsibility. For example, you could ask individuals to organise the warm-up or lead the team talk. If you work with very young players, get them to help arrange the cones or goals.

Next, it’s time to link your matchday to training. Vinny and Vicky discuss the importance of this step in the video below.

Try creating a matchday routine to help ensure a consistent experience for your players. For example:

  • arrange the same arrival time each week
  • use familiar warm-up activities
  • outline your key objectives before the game
  • set team and individual challenges that connect to training.

And don’t forget to include others in your plans. A successful matchday relies on great relationships, so always welcome players, parents, officials and the opposition. Provide any information they need and thank them for being involved.

Here, Vinny explains how he prioritises routine, responsibility and relationships with his team.

During the match

As the action plays out, stand back and observe. Offer concise praise or supportive feedback, but don’t interrupt with instructions all the time. Let your team play. Vinny and Vicky explain more.

At halftime, involve your players in a discussion about the objectives and challenges you’ve set. For example, how do they feel they’re doing? What’s going well and what could they change?

As the game progresses, try to give everyone the chance to play and always keep your substitutes involved. For example, ask them to encourage their teammates or watch out for specific skills. Vinny explains what this looks like with his team.

And remember, even if tensions run high, remain respectful to officials and the opposition.

After the match

The game’s over, so what’s next? Here’s how our coach developers react when the whistle blows:

Once you’ve thanked everyone, it’s time to appreciate your team’s achievements – as a group and individually. But don’t focus too much on the result. Vinny explains why.

Once you’ve debriefed, ask your players to collect cones or lead a cool-down. And don’t forget to end on a positive note. The aim is to leave your team looking forward to their next football experience.