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Coach applauding and giving praise from the side of the futsal court.

We all know football can be an emotional game. Everyone likes to win. And sometimes people can get lost chasing that result. But it’s incredibly important to keep your emotions in check.  

As a coach, you need to:  

  • create a good, safe, inclusive environment 
  • support your players’ development
  • help your players fall in love with the game.   

Role modelling good behaviour is key to all of that. After all, how you behave affects your team.   

If you’re not in control of your emotions, you may see your team mirroring your actions. Shouting, moaning and showing other poor behaviour can also take the fun away from the players. It can make them feel under pressure. If they aren’t enjoying it, they might not want to return. And if that happens, how can we help them fall in love with the game?  

Being calm, composed and in control of your emotions improves everyone’s enjoyment of the game. And that means yours, too. It also allows you to think and observe effectively, allowing you to offer support and praise when necessary. 

Interactive video

Want to dive deeper into this topic? Then, work your way through this video.

Your players are likely coming to training after a long day at school or work. They want to catch up with their mates, have fun and play football. The last thing they need is a coach looking fed up and shouting at them if they’re making mistakes. That won’t get them to buy into what you want to work on. It may also discourage them from taking risks and trying new things. And, ultimately, if you keep displaying negative behaviours, they won’t return next week. 

Here are a few tips to help you manage your emotions at training: 

  • Keep your players in mind when planning your sessions. Think about their needs to tailor the challenge of your practices. This improves their engagement levels. And it means your sessions are likely to run more smoothly. Keeping them, and you, happy.  
  • Understand that things will go wrong. Players and coaches will all make mistakes. Instead of getting frustrated, realise there’s no such thing as a perfect session. And you can amend practices as you go. Keep the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002) in mind.
  • Analyse what’s in front of you before you react. Think about what you’ve observed, how you will react and what impact that will have on the individual or group.  

Even though matchday is meant to be fun, the ‘pressure’ to win can bring out poor coaching behaviour. And that has a negative impact. 

If a coach complains and shouts whenever they disagree with a refereeing decision, their players are likely to replicate that. The game can descend into chaos. And the match can get out of control. This puts the referee under pressure because someone who is meant to be a role model hasn’t displayed good behaviour. 

Another example you may have encountered is coaches constantly shouting demands at their team. If a coach keeps screaming “pass, pass, pass” at their players, it puts them under pressure. And how can they develop if they’re not allowed to make their own decisions? 

Here are a few tips to help you manage your emotions on matchday: 

  • Remember, it’s their game. So, put your players at the forefront of your mind. Think about how your actions and behaviour will impact them and their enjoyment.  
  • Stay calm when mistakes happen. They’re a learning opportunity for your players.  
  • Build a rapport with the opposition coach during the week and discuss the environment you want to create. This gets you both on the same page. 

Showing respect on matchday

Tap play on this clip to hear The FA's Vinny Halsall discuss respect on matchday as well as his idea of talking to the opposition coach earlier in the week.

Coaching considerations

The importance of reflecting on your behaviour

Reflection is stereotypically something that doesn’t get enough attention. But it’s just as important as planning your sessions. Making time for reflection will increase your self-awareness and improve you as a coach. You can even ask a peer for their thoughts.  


When you get a moment, try thinking about:  

  • What were my coaching behaviours today? Did I stick to my values?  
  • How did I interact with the players?  
  • Did I show empathy?   
  • Were there any moments where I interacted with a player and got a response I wasn’t expecting? Why might that be?  
  • What was my communication like?  
  • Were my interventions necessary, and did they make a difference? 

Things to remember when managing your coaching behaviour 

Things to remember: Be aware of your behaviours and emotions first, then think about how your emotions can unfold in your behaviours and what effect that has on people around you. Know yourself and be consistent in the way you behave.  Remember the context, show empathy. Think about your players - what do they need and what environment do you need to create for them? Think before you react. Think about the impact your behaviour and actions will have on your players.

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.