How to coach on match day

match day

Football is just a game

Unless your coaching in the A-League, there shouldn’t be much to stress about on game day. Enjoy the game, you deserve it coach.

Have a plan

Have a plan to help get the best out of your team.

Be positive

Observe your match ‘focus,’ be positive & show composure.


Check on your players well-being & use effective communication.


Focus on the positives & appreciate player achievements.


  • Encourage your players
  • Be calm and composed
  • Observe what is happening in the game
  • Give your players equal playing time
  • Be patient
  • Appreciate the referees


  • Don’t try to control the referee
  • Don’t criticise your players
  • Avoid over coaching
  • Don’t react to moments
  • Don’t bench players just to win, it’s not worth it
  • Avoid long winded speeches

It depends….

The age and ability of your players will have the biggest impact on how you coach. Coaching 5 year olds is different to coaching 25 year olds. Coaching community players is different to coaching elite players.

However the fundamental points are still the same if applied to the appropriate needs of your players.


Follow a schedule.

Have a focus for the game.

Give your players 2-3 key tasks that follow on from you worked on at training.

Provide a ball centred warm up.

Example of a Team Talk (14-17yrs)

Example schedule (9-13yrs)

9:00am – Organise dressing shed & notes.
9:20am – Players arrive.
9:30am – Players get ready.
9:40am – Team Talk.
9:45am – Ball centred warm up.
9:55am – Players organised & ready to play.
10:00am – Kick off.

How well did you execute your plan?

During the game

Observe and record key points. Try to observe individual player actions.

Look for 2 or 3 team tasks (what/how you want your team to perform)

Look for 3 or 4 individual player tasks (what/how you want your players to perform)

Write some main points of feedback to give players at half-time (Team tasks and player tasks)

Don’t over coach.. 0bserve.


First 5 minutes: Let yourself and the players unwind for a few moments. Take some deep breaths, check on player injuries, organise the environment.

Second 5 minutes: Team talk

Third 5 minutes: Finalise preparations, make sure individual players are ready and know their task.

Remember, illustrate your message if possible, engage players by asking them for input in your message, stick to 2-3 main points. “Less is more”

Stick to 2-3 key points

coach talking to team

Post Game

Focus on the positives, give praise to individuals for trying something new or achieving a task set during the game.

Don’t go over all the negatives from a game, especially in a loss, that’s the last thing your players want after a difficult game.

Check on your players well being, make sure the stretch down, and know when training is on next week.

Provide lots of encouragement


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