2 ways to set up your session early

Arriving to your session 15 – 30 minutes early to set up will make a world of difference to how well your training session works out, but not all coaches can arrive at their training session early due to work and family commitments, so here are 2 tips to set up your session to achieve the same outcome.

1. Preoccupy your players with a fun warm up game

Round the rondo, football tennis, head tennis, and two touch juggling are all fun challenges that will engage your players from the get go and will allow you time to set up the equipment while they are engaged in productive football activities.

Many coaches try a similar strategy but in a destructive manner and send their players to run laps. However the problem with this is that the players don’t have a ball; they are not playing a football-related activity, they are not having fun and can feel left out or demeaned in they are always left at the end of the pack if they are not as athletic as the other kids, and this can have a negative impact on their experience.

Why can’t a warm up be fun and with a ball at the same time?


Most of us were brought up starting a session with our coaches sending us on laps and extensive fitness routines before training which results in how we coach our players.

As coaching has changed a lot since then, there are more effective ways to start your training session.

Coach setting up

2. Get help from a parent, club coach coordinator or manager

You may not be able to arrive early, but there are people at the club who can help set up for you. Clubs are now implementing Club Coach Coordinators to support volunteer coaches, there are also parents in your team who may be willing to help out.

Why not email them your session plan to see if they are able to arrive early to set up the equipment for you, so when you arrive you can start the session straight away.

Most professional teams have an equipment manager to help the coach set up and transition so they can get the most out of their session and use the time effectively.


Why is it important to set up your session early?

It helps keep the player’s attention

Most community coaches would know that young players have a short attention span and get distracted very easily. When coaching, every single second counts towards keeping their attention and interest in your session.

Having everything set up beforehand means less downtime for your players to become distracted. If you are taking five minutes to set up your activities your players will have already found something else to do.

Your setup allows you to get your players active and engaged from the very beginning and enables you to keep them engaged throughout the entire session as you transition from one activity to another with the aid of a carefully thought out and planned set up.

It helps players get more touches of the ball

Not only does the activity start quicker, which means more playing time overall, but an effective set up can also mean fewer stoppages during play.

Having spare footballs on the sideline of your activity means a quick restart when the ball goes out of play instead of the players chasing the ball which can take 30 seconds, they can restart within 5 seconds due to effective organisation.

Players and parents buy into your coaching

A well-organised training session means that the coach has put time and energy into the planning and preparation. The players and parents will see this and reciprocate the same amount of effort into the training session.

The players can as much as you do.

If the players see you arriving late and putting little effort into delivering a quality practice, they are unlikely to put in much effort into participating.

> Attend a Community Coaching Course to learn more practical coaching tips.