Skip to main content
A coach talks to a small group of her players at the side of the pitch during matchday.

Create a checklist

Everyone loves matchday. But with so much going on, it can be chaotic for coaches. There’s a lot to think about.  
To help, some may find it useful to create a checklist of things to consider. You can then run through this in the lead-up to each matchday. The list should include things like, have the opposition and officials been contacted? What players are available? Does everyone know where the venue is? Is the pitch ready, or will it need setting up? What time is kick-off? When should I arrive? When should players turn up? You can fill it with notes, questions and reminders to help you during and after the game, too. 

After going through your checklist, if you need to get some answers – and get everyone on the same page – post the relevant questions into a WhatsApp group with the players’ parents and carers. The FA’s Matchday app can also be a helpful tool to make matchday admin much easier. 

Be a good delegator

At grassroots level, you may be the only coach. But that doesn’t mean you have to do everything. Now you’ve got your checklist, try delegating some tasks to the player’s parents. You may find that some want to get involved.  
Here, The FA’s Pav Singh and Suey Smith talk about the importance of coaches being good delegators.

Use whiteboards to welcome everyone

As it’s likely players turn up with their parents at different times on matchday, you could be busy setting up and miss their arrival. This is where whiteboards can help. You can use these to welcome them and put up some key messages. For instance, informing them of the timings for the day, what jobs parents can help with and where they may be able to grab refreshments.  
They’re also ideal for displaying any arrival activities for your players. Instead of the team peppering the keeper with shots, state what practice they can use to warm up. It doesn’t have to be a huge session. Just something simple, like tag or small-sided games they can manage themselves and take part in when they’re ready. If you use consistent warmups at training and matchday, it will be easier for players to take ownership of them naturally.  

Stick to your values

The whistle goes. The game kicks off. There’s a lot to take in. But it’s important to be true to yourself and your values. Sure, we all want to win. But if you stated at the start of the season that you’re going to give equal minutes to players and not prioritise results, stick to those beliefs. Ensure your behaviour matches your values.  
Here, Pav and Suey discuss this and talk about their values.  

Everybody wants to play. No one wants to be on the sidelines. So, players will naturally be disappointed if they’re not in the starting lineup. They may have a negative mindset. But let them know they still have an important role to play. They’re the game changers. They’re the ones who are called upon to impact the game.  
Calling them game changers – or finishers – instead of subs can make a difference. And keeping them involved with the match will do, too. Giving them responsibilities like observing a particular focus and feeding back their thoughts during the half-time team talk will keep them engaged.  


More coaching tips

If you’re looking for more matchday advice, then check out these articles: