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Game Day Management

Behind every great team that achieves results, produces quality soccer and plays an entertaining game, you will find a coach with a charismatic personality, who is frequently an emblematic figure within their club. There is no specific program at the youth level aimed at achieving high-quality performances or at changing the behavior of a player without the full involvement of a coach or recognized instructor.

This function, which nowadays involves not only sports-related aspects, but also psychological and social ones, has expanded considerably in soccer, in particular to cope with the increasing demands of the modern game and the players. In addition to organizational and scheduling tasks, and the supervision of technical, tactical and physical aspects, the coach's area of activity and responsibilities have now been extended to include communication, day-to-day team management, and health and hygiene issues concerning the players, as well as their training and education.

As the demands on coaches grow, Washington Youth Soccer will continue to deliver relevant coaching and education programs that can assist our coaches to be better prepared for our players. Below are some guidelines in regards to the match/game day management of a team.

Game Day Management


  • In the days preceding the game
    • Plan the match preparations.
    • Decide on the team's travel arrangements and possible overnight stays.
    • Ascertain the state (physical and psychological) of the players (through individual discussions).
    • Pick the team, taking into account any restrictions imposed.
    • Analyze the opponents.
    • Pay close attention to your team spirit.
  • On the day of the game
    • Bring the team together for a pre-match gathering (having fixed the time, place, duration and number of participants in advance).
    • Remind everyone present of individual and collective instructions.
    • Announce the final team selection.
    • Give a brief presentation of the opposition: its strengths and weaknesses (if applicable).
    • This can be done during the week before the match as well.
    • Take into account weather conditions and the state of the pitch.
    • Motivate the team, and in particular, certain players that need it!
    • Remind the players of the importance of a good warm-up.

It is important to stress here that the objective of a pre-match team meeting is not to fill the players' heads with a lot of words. If a team meeting is to serve its purpose effectively, the instructions given to the players must be both concise and precise. Talking too much has a detrimental effect. Remember that, "Small is beautiful."

  • At half-time
    • You should establish a calm atmosphere, which is conducive to recovery.
    • You should emphasize concisely the important aspects that need to be altered or rectified on the basis of notes taken during the first half — "How can you affect the second half positively?"
    • You should not place too much emphasis on what has happened in the first half; what is done is done. But, if necessary, you should:
    • Change certain tactical arrangements.
    • Change the game plan.
    • Change the team line-up by substituting a player.
    • Give simple, clear, brief and precise instructions.
    • Emphasize the positive aspects.
    • Stimulate the players' willpower and their confidence.
    • Encourage and motivate.
    • Demand greater discipline.
    • You should address the players by their first names.
    • You should behave in such a way that every player feels involved – including the substitutes.
    • You should be confident, reassuring and convincing.

Please note!

As the time available during the half-time interval is very short, only essential points should be raised. The players must return to the pitch with a clear knowledge of what they have to do and not be questioning themselves.

All of the tactical situations envisaged for the match or changes in the game plan that are introduced at half time must have been worked on in advance on the training field!

  • At the end of the game
    • You should not make a lot of comments immediately after the match has finished; no team meetings should be scheduled at this time (players are too tired, too nervous and too emotional).
    • You should speak in a positive manner.
    • If the team has lost, you should remain in control of the situation, you should not look for excuses, criticize the players, the referee or the crowd.
    • You should assume your responsibilities.
  • At the post-match team meeting
    • At the start of the next training session, or after players have recovered if in a tournament:
    • Give your impressions and your assessment.
    • Encourage the players to think about their own actions.
    • Draw your own consequences and try to seek solutions.
    • Ask the opinion of the players (this is a way of giving them a feeling of responsibility).
Washington Youth Soccer

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