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Two coaches chat with each other on the side of the pitch during matchday.

Why is it important for coaches to work with others off the pitch?

A player’s football journey isn’t just about what happens in training and on matchday. It’s shaped by everything around them.

That’s why it’s crucial to involve others off the pitch. This is especially important when it comes to younger players. If parents and other supporters are on the same page as you, coaching becomes much smoother. Players won’t hear conflicting messages from different people.

Sharing your responsibilities can also make things less stressful for you. Why carry the weight of everything when there could be others who could help?

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At training, think about how others can pitch in. Can someone handle first aid? Keep an eye out for safeguarding issues? Observe individual players?

Some parents might not be interested, and that’s fine. So, start by asking who wants to help. And to keep things fresh, you could mix up the roles each week instead of sticking to the same routine.

If you work with another coach, consider having them observe you. Are you talking too much? Asking the right questions? Keep an open mind to feedback. It’s all about improving together.

Even if they’re less experienced than you, others can bring valuable skills to the table. Whether they’re a great listener or an expert in a certain part of the game, make the most of what each person can offer.

On matchday, take the pressure off yourself by getting others involved. If you’re doing everything alone, what should be a fun day can become a chore.

Support goes beyond putting up the nets. Consider asking a parent or co-coach to focus on some aspects of the game while you watch others. Whether they’re looking at the opposition, defensive units, or specific players, this frees you up to stand back and observe.

But when it comes to working with others on matchday, proper planning is essential. Decide in advance who will handle each role.

If you’re working with another coach, make sure to discuss half-time arrangements. What will be the priorities? Who will talk to the team, and how? Will it be through questions or more direct feedback?

After the match, a quick debrief can be incredibly helpful for reflecting on whether things went as planned.

Want parents just as invested in your team as you are? Then give them a clear purpose and keep the communication flowing.

Here are some simple ways to keep everyone on the same page:

  • Explain what to expect from the game. An under-8s match looks very different to what they see on TV.
  • Discourage parents from playing ‘coach’ by clearly explaining what you’re trying to do. That way they’ll be on the same page as you and share the right messages with their children.
  • Start the season off with a welcome evening for parents. Agree on what you expect from them and what they expect from you. Catch up mid-season to review.
  • Stay connected with technology like WhatsApp.
  • Get parents involved in pre-match conversations. Ask for their support, like cheering on players if they do what you’re focusing on that week.


From setting out the corner flags to pursuing a coaching qualification, there are plenty of ways others can get involved with the game.

Encourage participation with these tips:

  • Create a safe and welcoming environment. This will attract people to join in.
  • Rotate roles so no one is stuck doing the tedious tasks every time.
  • Ease newcomers in gently. Pair them up with someone else. Or let them lead a fun warm-up activity to build confidence.
  • Highlight the benefits of getting involved. The more support we have, the more we can keep players engaged.
  • Take the time to understand people’s backgrounds. Find ways to make them comfortable taking part.


As young players grow and change, so does the game. Keep parents in the loop about what’s new, so they know what to expect.

As they develop physically, players might have other activities going on. Chat with parents to understand what they do outside of football. Is someone coming straight from a cross-country run? Adjust the session to avoid overloading them.

Ever heard of a ‘player passport’? It's a form filled out by players and parents at the start of the season. They complete sentences like, ‘I feel at my best when...’ This information helps you tailor your approach as players grow.

And when players hit the age of 17 to 21, it’s a big time for physical, mental and emotional upheaval. Their football environment might be changing too. Team up with parents to support them through this transition.

Things to remember when working with others

A graphic showing five top tips to help coaches work with others off the pitch. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Be clear with people about what their role is. Highlight the value they’re bringing to the team. Keep communicating to get everyone on the same page. Switch up tasks regularly to keep things interesting.

Further learning

If you’re interested in this topic, check out these resources to learn more:

You can also take the key information from this article away with you by downloading this PDF.