Category: Coaches’ Zone

  • Confessions of a Crybaby (Sep 16th, 2014)

    I am a crybaby. Sometimes, I cry when I’m inspired or sad. Sometimes, I cry from disappointment or joy. I cried when my high school football team won the state championship. I even cried during an episode of Hannah Montana that I watched with my then 5-year-old daughter.

    Read more on Confessions of a Crybaby…

  • The First Soccer Tournament: Nobody Told Them It Would Be Like This! (Sep 2nd, 2014)

    This U8 team was formed a few months ago after a lengthy tryout process. A few practices were held during the summer to help the players get familiar with each other. Coaches even had a trainer work with them a couple times per week for the past three weeks in preparation for their first tournament. Coaches, parents and players were eager to participate in their first tournament as the “A” team from the club.

    Read more on The First Soccer Tournament: Nobody Told Them It Would Be Like This!…

  • Soccer Tips: Successful Instep Juggling (Jun 24th, 2014)

    By “Koach Karl” Dewazien, author and producer of soccer resources for all youth levels.

    “Encourage your players to juggle every day … In time, their ball control problems will go away!”

    Soccer juggling

    Typical Instruction:

    Read more on Soccer Tips: Successful Instep Juggling…

  • The Good Side of the Field (Jun 3rd, 2014)

    By Tyler Isaacson, founder of

    I occasionally hear comments made behind my back while I am coaching.  I almost never turn around and try to keep my eyes on the field.  soccer-coachMy wife hears things more often than I do because she is generally on the other side of the field, with the parents, many of whom don’t know who she is. Believe it or not, I even receive emails and text messages with “ideas” about who should be playing where and who should be on the bench. Do they understand I am a volunteer and I am doing this for the kids?  I decided to write a little note to the parents to give them my side of the story.

    Read more on The Good Side of the Field…

  • What Is Performance Anxiety And What Can We Do About It? (Apr 10th, 2014)

    By Craig Sigl, Mental Toughness Trainer.

    Thousands of times a day, worldwide, a child or teenage athlete wakes up on game day with a huge knot in his or her stomach.  As they go through their pre-game routine, their tension and nervousness build up and their thoughts run wild turning to worry and then anxiety:
    “I have to play well today.”

    Read more on What Is Performance Anxiety And What Can We Do About It?…

  • How Athletes Can Stop Choking Under Pressure (Mar 25th, 2014)

    By Craig Sigl, Mental Toughness Trainer

    It’s the 1986 World Series and the Boston Red Sox are winning by 2 runs in the last inning with 2 outs and 2 strikes on the batter. They win this game over the Mets and they win the World Series.  Bill Buckner, the first baseman, has a very easy, slow ground ball hit to him that goes through his legs and goes down as one of the worst chokes of all time.  The Mets rally and go on to win the World Series.

    Read more on How Athletes Can Stop Choking Under Pressure…

  • Why Wasn’t Marcus Smart “Idiot-Proof”? (Feb 10th, 2014)

    I love the Olympics. Truth be told, I’m more of a sucker for the Summer Games, especially swimming, but what I really love most of all are the amazing stories of perseverance and focus by athletes from around the world. Athletes who toil in obscurity to excel in biathlon, skiathlon, bobsledding, luge, and yes, curling.

    Read more on Why Wasn’t Marcus Smart “Idiot-Proof”?…

  • The Quitting Phenomenon (Jan 23rd, 2014)

    By “Koach Karl” Dewazien, author and producer of soccer resources for all youth levels.

    The best preparation for learning to play soccer and keeping them playing is being under the tutelage of a loving coach/teacher at the very beginning. Experienced coaches know that it takes between 7-10 years for most children to have had enough familiarity with playing the game to be able to put it all together and actually master soccer. When we expose beginning players to an adult soccer environment, including over-organized practices with laps/lines/lectures, practices consisting of drills with no ‘theme’, competitive games for league standings and winner take-all tournaments, then we rob them of the inherent joy and purpose that comes from learning to play masterful soccer.

    Read more on The Quitting Phenomenon…

  • Changing the Game: An Interview with John O’Sullivan (Jan 21st, 2014)

    I recently had the opportunity to speak with John O’Sullivan, a former college and professional soccer player, current youth club soccer coach, and author of Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes.

    Read more on Changing the Game: An Interview with John O’Sullivan…

  • 3 Ways To Get Your To-Do List Done Faster (Jan 16th, 2014)

    Mandy Green is a Division 1 Head Soccer Coach,  President of Coaching Productivity Strategies and author of Green Time Management.

    I’m sure you can relate — I have way too much stuff to do. I’ve been a coach in youth and collegiate athletics for the past 15 years. In that time, I was having a hard time working all day in my college coaching job and then coming home to organize all of my youth teams and spend quality time with my husband and kids.  I no doubt needed a better way to get my work done so I had more time to hang out with family. To solve the problem, I went out and bought every time and energy management book that I could and synthesized it all together. The result was a time management system for coaches.

    Read more on 3 Ways To Get Your To-Do List Done Faster…

  • Train Just Like The Best Athletes in The World (Nov 18th, 2013)

    By TeamSnap’s Guest Authors at Driven Apps, a mobile app providing sports training tips and  fitness programs.

    Around 20 years ago, I remember watching guys like Bo Jackson and saying to myself that I wish I knew what he did for his training program.  Now the mobile app world has taken us by storm and has delivered to us our wish.  Driven Apps has teamed up with A-list athletes across the world and are beginning to deliver a downloadable iPhone app for coaches and athletes, showing the way these athletes train in order to be the best.

    Read more on Train Just Like The Best Athletes in The World…

  • Coaching Parents: Part 2 (Nov 14th, 2013)

    View Part I of Coaching Parents here.

    Parental attitudes often funnel down to their kids even on the field. We recently shared a previous blog post on how coaches can teach parents to be “good baseball parents”. Read these additional nuggets of advice on the idea of how to coach team parents.

    Read more on Coaching Parents: Part 2…

  • Coaching Parents: Part 1 (Nov 11th, 2013)

    By Cal Ripken and Bill Ripken, MLB greats and founders of

    Youth baseball coaches should make player experience the number one priority. One part of this process that often is overlooked is coaching the parents.

    Read more on Coaching Parents: Part 1…

  • The Benefits of Private Coaching Extend Beyond The Field (Mar 4th, 2013)

    By Grant Covington from our partners at

    In today’s world of ultra-competitive sports, more and more parents are turning to private coaches to help their child excel. From an outsider’s perspective this might seem like a decision based purely on athletics, but what many people fail to realize is that when you find a great private coach, he or she will not only help your child on the field, but off the field as well. Finding a great private coach at an early age can establish a powerful relationship that enables the coach to help your child in multiple capacities.

    Read more on The Benefits of Private Coaching Extend Beyond The Field…

  • The Coach’s Child (Oct 16th, 2012)

    The Coach’s Child
    By Deb Zacher

    In my early athletic career I remember watching the coaches of my teams interact with their children. I remember being glad that I wasn’t the coach’s child, because there usually seemed to be more tension between them than any other players on the team. It wasn’t until my husband and I started coaching our own children that I became aware of how rewarding, yet difficult it can be.

    Read more on The Coach’s Child…

  • 4 Tips for Getting Parents Onboard for a Successful Sports Season (Sep 4th, 2012)

    When coaching a youth sports team, it’s of the utmost importance to set the tone right from the get-go in order to have a successful season. This is especially true if it’s a team’s first time together, or if you are adding a number of new players to the roster.

    Read more on 4 Tips for Getting Parents Onboard for a Successful Sports Season…

  • Say Goodbye to the Clipboard! (Aug 31st, 2012)

    Summer is winding down and many kids are already back to school—and back to fall sports—especially soccer. Some estimates state that nearly 14 million children under the age of 18 across the United States participate or play soccer today. That’s a lot of kids! And a lot of soccer coaches, some with more experience than others. Maybe you are one of those coaches and you’re wondering how you’re going to manage practices and games this season.

    Read more on Say Goodbye to the Clipboard!…

  • The Watching Myth (Aug 29th, 2012)

    The advantages of sitting on the bench watching the game instead of playing have been brought up to me on numerous occasions, so I’d like to address the issue. First, by saying that it is exponentially better to play than to sit on the bench. One example I’ll give is when Aaron Rodgers sat on the bench learning from Brett Farve, a Hall of famer.  Now take a look at Rodgers’ stats from 2008 to 2011:

    Read more on The Watching Myth…

  • Those Darn REFS! (Apr 25th, 2012)

    I started playing organized sports at the ripe old age of 5. I played tennis, basketball and soccer, so two of the three called for a referee. I continued to play all the way through college, and in the years since, have been a parent watching my kids play, as well as being a coach. I’ve seen the game from every point of view…except from the eyes of a ref. So here I try to elicit some compassion for probably the hardest position of all…the one with the black and white striped shirt and the whistle.

    Read more on Those Darn REFS!…

  • Why Is Baseball Practice So Boring? (Mar 21st, 2012)

    If you’ve ever watched or been involved with a youth baseball practice that was slower than watching paint dry, you’re not alone.  Probably what you witnessed was a youth pitcher, who doesn’t pitch well, throwing to a youth hitter who doesn’t hit very well, with everyone else standing around waiting for something to happen.  You have seen it before — the outfielders are sitting down, the shortstop and the 3rd baseman are having a rock fight, the 2nd baseman is playing catch with his glove, and the 1st baseman is drawing pictures in the dirt with his right toe.  Meanwhile the coach is trying to explain to the pitcher how to get the ball over the plate, and the assistant coach is trying to explain to the hitter all the reasons why s/he is missing 4 out of 5 pitches.

    Read more on Why Is Baseball Practice So Boring?…

  • Coaching, Spoken and Unspoken (Aug 25th, 2011)

    Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence. ~ Spanish Proverb

    I coach a lot of practices and games but occasionally I get to sit back and watch – and listen – to other teams’ practices and games. When I do, I invariably leave with something I like, or don’t like, and those takeaways continue to shape me as a coach.

    Read more on Coaching, Spoken and Unspoken…

  • Teach Winning Through Losing: Part II (Aug 4th, 2011)

    This is the second post in a two-part series on teaching players about winning through losing. Click here to view the first post.


    You can’t let praise or criticism get to you.  It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.  – John Wooden

    Read more on Teach Winning Through Losing: Part II…

  • Teach Winning Through Losing (Aug 3rd, 2011)

    This is the first post in a two-part series on teaching players about winning through losing.

    If you can’t accept losing, you can’t win.  – Vince Lombardi

    This spring, I survived my first youth league draft. I was cautioned against drafting a young, inexperienced team. “You’ll lose a lot of games, and the kids won’t deal with it well.” I didn’t fear the first part, and I didn’t believe the second part, so I went against conventional wisdom and drafted the youngest, most inexperienced team in the league. And I got exactly the team I wanted.

    Read more on Teach Winning Through Losing…

  • The 10th Bold Idea For Youth Sports (Jun 21st, 2011)

    A few weeks ago we posted a blog, “10 Bold Ideas to Improve Youth Sports.” Coach Bruce wrote about nine different ways that clubs and leagues could improve by making their top priority to teach the sport. He suggests sharing, collaboration, ongoing assessment, and an overarching mentality to mentor others in the organization including coaches and players.  Bruce notes, “Change rarely comes easy in any organization. Even small leadership mindset shifts, however, can make a profound impact.”

    Read more on The 10th Bold Idea For Youth Sports…

  • 10 Bold Ideas To Improve Youth Sports (May 26th, 2011)

    Psst… we only have 9 bold ideas here, because we want you to give us the 10th.  Leave your best idea for improving youth sports in a comment below or post it on the TeamSnap Facebook wall.  We will select our favorite and the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Go on – be bold!

    Read more on 10 Bold Ideas To Improve Youth Sports…

  • The Youth Sports Coach as A Servant Leader (May 19th, 2011)

    Most games are lost, not won ~ Casey Stengel. As a youth coach, I recognize that my young players need me more as a teacher and as a servant leader than as anything else. Youth team sports are a great vehicle for teaching eager learners how to be better contributors to all future groups they join.

  • Reinforce Competition With The Right Drills: Baseball and Softball Practice Ideas (Apr 26th, 2011)

    Without a competitive mindset, it’s difficult to engage, to care, or to strive to improve. Correctness leads to improvement, improvement leads to success, and success leads to satisfaction. Competition drives the process. Here is a sample set of competitive challenges.

  • Beyond Winning: How to Challenge Your Players to Compete (Apr 21st, 2011)

    This is the second post in a three part series from the Coaches’ Zone on coaching competition.  Make sure to leave your comments and let us know what you think.

    My last post Coach Young Athletes to Always Compete addressed stressing competition over winning. How do I help players distinguish competitiveness from the desire to win the game?  I start by teaching them that competing need not even involve an opponent, never mind a scoreboard that displays a game winner and loser.  To compete simply means to strive to outdo.  So I challenge my players in every practice and game to outdo.  To outdo something.  To engage in a competitive mindset, to focus on what we’re learning, what we’re practicing, and its purpose.  I challenge my players to strive for improvement, to care about achievement, to reach.  It has nothing to do with where they end up in the standings or their athletic potential; it has everything to do with developing a healthy sense of pride by learning to compete.

    Read more on Beyond Winning: How to Challenge Your Players to Compete…

  • Can You Only Win Or Lose? Coach Young Athletes to Always Compete (Apr 20th, 2011)

    This post is the first in a three part series from the Coaches’ Zone on coaching competition.  Make sure to leave your comments and let us know what you think.

    Everyone likes to win.

    Read more on Can You Only Win Or Lose? Coach Young Athletes to Always Compete…

  • Strive For Success and Fun Will Follow (Apr 13th, 2011)

    Consistent action builds extraordinary outcomes.
    ~ Jerry Seinfeld

    Youth coaches are often asked: “What are your primary goals for your players this season?” Common answers are: “Stay Safe”, “Have Fun”, and “Win Games”, and those are perfectly reasonable replies.

    Read more on Strive For Success and Fun Will Follow…

  • Set Team Promises Rather Than Team Rules (Apr 6th, 2011)

    “The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break”
    ~ John Madden.

    As with any organization, teams require a set of rules. I encourage coaches to think about how these are communicated to get players feeling accountable and invested in the team code of conduct.  Rather than requiring adherence to a set of rules, have your players set promises and pledge to honor them. This makes them feel like a part of something as opposed to being told what to do.

    Read more on Set Team Promises Rather Than Team Rules…

  • Coach The Culture, Then Let The Culture Coach The Team (Mar 31st, 2011)

    All great teams have a defining culture, and youth teams should have one too. My teams are defined by timeless virtues that all players can develop, regardless of age or ability: class, hustle, heart, love, respect, and quiet confidence. The ideal I strive for is to have my players recognized by their brand of play. Skill and success are important aspects of the brand, but I trust that those are inevitable by-products of the most fundamental aspects of the brand of baseball I teach.

    Read more on Coach The Culture, Then Let The Culture Coach The Team…

  • Introducing the Playbook Blog and Starting Lineup (Mar 30th, 2011)

    With the spring sports season officially beginning, it is an exciting time for young athletes, parents, and coaches gearing up for another round of practices, games, tournaments, fundraisers, and fun! You have been busy preparing, and so have we.  We are thrilled to announce the launch of the TeamSnap PlayBook, an awesome new section just for coaches, managers, and parents to talk about youth sports, share personal experiences, and ask questions.

    Read more on Introducing the Playbook Blog and Starting Lineup…