How players learn

How players learn

 players learn football by playing football


You can’t force your players to learn, interest them first, make the learning enjoyable.


Players learn through perception and decision making, let them figure it out.


Players learn through repeated practice, narrow your focus on a particular aspect.


Players will improve if they are challenged, increase the level of resistance when they are ready.

“You haven’t taught until they have learned.” Coach Wooden




1. Motivate your players

You can’t force your players to learn.

Having the title of coach doesn’t make you entitled to coach.

It should never be the case of “I am the coach and you will do what i say,” but rather influencing your players in the right way so they want to learn. Have a positive approach, play games, and keep your players age and ability in mind. Why can’t learning be fun?

2. Ask, don’t tell – use games

Don’t tell your players what to do or learn, but ask them questions so they can discover it for themselves.

Let your players think and make their own decisions, if they make the wrong decision, provide positive reinforcement and ask “why” and “what” will you do next time? This is why learning within a game environment is so important, because your players are constantly making decisions.

“The person doing the thinking, is the person doing the learning.”

 3. Narrow your focus – use repetition

What are you trying to teach your players? Whether it is running with the ball, or crossing, they need lots of repetition and opportunities to practice.

This is why it is a good idea to have a session objective and focus for each training session. If you provide too much information your message will spread thin.

“Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong”

Young players will not likely learn straight away, it will take many weeks of repetition and reinforcement.

4. Provide a challenge

If you players do what they are comfortable with or find easy, they will never improve. They need to be challenged. As a coach it is important to find the ideal balance between a practice not being too easy, and not being too hard.

“You learn more from a loss than a win”

Much of what we learn is through problem solving, and finding solutions. But in order to problem solve, you need to have a ‘problem.’ So what’s the challenge?

“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand.”