Coaching Kids Soccer: How To Maintain Discipline.

Are you having problems maintaining discipline within your team? If your coaching kids soccer the chances of you confronting a disruptive child or player are extreme. But before you go pointing the finger and punishing the child, put yourself under the microscope. No need to dissect yourself as a person, but investigate your coaching methods. Are you as the coach to blame for this disruptive behaviour?

Disruptive behaviour from a player or a number of players within your team is due to a lack of interest. Your probably wondering “a lack of interest”, these kids are attending my training sessions. “If they are not interested they shouldn’t attend”, you think to yourself. However, most young children are forced to play soccer by their parents. So how do we avoid disruptive behaviour? A better question to answer is “what causes this disruptive behaviour?”

Disruptive behaviour is caused by

  • The coach talking too much. If your coaching kids soccer, don’t waste long periods of time talking to your team. Young children have a short attention span, anything over 2 minutes and their minds start to wonder.
  • Bad preparation of the training session. Soccer drills should be set up before the kids attend training so there is no waiting. Once the kids are bored, they will start to play up and fool around. This shouldn’t be seen as disruptive behaviour, after all they are kids and you as a coach need to provide them with an effective training session.
  • Practicing only one activity or spending too much time on one activity. After a few repetitions the kids will get bored and start to look for something more exciting to do.
  • Players waiting for their turn. Soccer drills that do not utilise all the children at once should be avoided. Young players left out will focus their attention on something else and you will inevitably see this as disruptive behaviour.
  • Choice of Soccer Drills. If the exercises or drills you are trying to teach are too advanced or too hard for the kids, they will simply give up and start to fool around.

After reading the above, disruptive behaviour is usually caused by you the coach. Disruptive children are not problematic children far from it. They just don’t respond or enjoy your training methods. If you have a large number of disruptive players in your team, what can be said about your training sessions? Are you as the coach letting your team down?

So how do we eliminate disruptive behaviour from our training sessions?

The secret to minimising disruptive behaviour is to ensure that all the kids are constantly involved and active during training. Also the training session should focus on fun and learning. Remember young kids are full of energy and their natural instinct is to want to run and play. They do not want to be instructed to do this and do that, they get that at school all day long.

As a coach, if you’ve provided an effective training session and are still confronted by disruptive behaviour, then you must employ plan B. Plan B must be employed with the greatest of care. So what is Plan B? In a few short words, Criticise the behaviour not the child. By criticising the behaviour, you are not damaging their self-esteem and self confidence.

If you have tried everything and exhausted all possibilities, it may be necessary to discuss the behaviour with the parents. Removal of the child from the team will have to be considered. If the child doesn’t respond to game situations, then maybe the child is not suited for the game of soccer. However, if you are faced with disruption by a number of players, examine yourself first, maybe your training sessions are to blame.

Did you enjoy this article?
Share the love
Get free updates


  1. Thomas,

    Your comments are right on! I find that practices that don’t keep the payers busy, lead to disruptive behaviour. Focusing on drills that are made up of groups of 3-4 players each, so as to keep all players involved at any one time, seem to work the best. Eliminate “down time” and you eliminate most of the causes for disruptive behaviour. It’s simple in theory, but takes a lot of pre-planning of your practices to make sure you implement it well.

    Keep up the great work!

    Coach Mark

  2. Thomas says:

    Thanks for your feedback Mark. Yes your right, easy in theory, difficult in practice. A bit like everything else in life wouldn’t you say.

  3. Michael says:

    Awesome post. Encourage and communication is key. Man management is also very succesful with younger plays to give them confidence to express themselves on the pitch.


Speak Your Mind