Private Soccer Coaching – Does Your Kid Need It?
With the rise of competitive sports at the youth age, it is no surprise that there is also a rise in players seeking private coaching. While there are many benefits to having a private coach, one of the biggest advantages is that they can help your child develop their skills while also helping them improve their confidence.
In this guide, we are going to break down the benefits of using a private soccer coach to help your athlete develop. We will discuss the difference between team practice and individual, one-on-one training.
Table of contents:
Chapter 1: What Are the Benefits of Using a Private Soccer Coach?
Team trainings are a critical part of soccer, however, team trainings are typically only for that, the team. Team practices are centered around team dynamics, running plays, and developing team chemistry. There is little to no focus on individual player development.
Team coaches manage anywhere from 12 or more kids at each session. Some even take on 24 or more! That is a minimum of a 12:1 ratio. Team coaches do not have the time or capacity to focus on individual player skills during team practice.
For players that are at the required skill level, they will get more game time than those who do not. This is why many youth athletes are left wondering why they are on the bench more than others.
This is a core reason why a player must focus on skill development outside of team practice.
A private soccer coach can extend a player’s game knowledge and team skill by focusing on the individual. When a soccer player has a private coach, they typically train at least 1-2 times per week additionally outside of their team practices. This extra time training can make your child go from a soccer player who spends half their time on the bench to a starter.
A quality private soccer coach will give your athlete non-biased, expert feedback. They will help your soccer player strengthen what needs to be strengthened, identify where they need to be faster or give more focus in the game, and help provide training that will help with game and life experiences.
Private coaches go beyond skill-building. They help the player with all facets of the game. Great private coaches lived through the down moments and lived through the up moments. They understand what excellence looks like in their sport.
Most amateur players, coaches, and parents do not understand what a great process looks like. Or how much work is hard work. Many assume they are working as hard as their peers, but are they really? A good private coach knows the process of what the best do and helps the child form good processes and problem-solving abilities.
Private coaches can help a player, by using an outside perspective, form an action plan to get from where they are today to get to where they need/want to go.
When your athlete uses a private coach, they can expect development in their confidence, increased attention on their soccer skills, development, and identification of their motivation, they are given more time to improve and will grow more comfortable on the ball.
This isn’t something unique to youth soccer, even pro and collegiate soccer teams bring in private coaches for their players because the head coach does not have time to focus on developing individuals. Yet, they know it is necessary and expect their athletes to develop outside of team practice.
Chapter 2: Confidence
One of the greatest benefits of using a private coach is the growth of your child’s confidence. A lot of kids lack confidence because they feel like they do not stand out in their sport or on their team. Developing their skills and growing in their sport can help them develop pride in their accomplishments. This can also carry over to other areas of their life, like schoolwork. It can shift their attitude for the better!
Private coaches help build confidence in multiple ways. One way is by creating weekly training goals, or sub-goals that are designed to get your player from point A to point B. As a player accomplishes their weekly goals and weekly training programs, they begin to build confidence in their accomplishments.
This confidence-building goes beyond soccer. It is problem-solving and building resiliency.
Let us explore one of Blayze’s soccer players. This is a player who always excelled on all her teams. But now, she is playing high school soccer for the first time and playing on a really strong team. This soccer program is highly recruited from for college soccer. She is on the Junior Varsity (JV) team and is struggling to find minutes. Because of this, her confidence is low, and she is down on her soccer abilities. She doesn’t know what she needs to do to get more playing time, to get on the field more, and how to prove herself once she’s on the field.
This is where her Blayze private coach sits down with her and has a non-biased viewpoint on the situation. They objectively look at her performance and what input/effort she is making. Then they discuss what changes need to be made and objectively help her form an action plan of what she needs to do to move from where she is today to where she wants to go. And an action plan of the steps to get there.
It is this action plan, broken into weekly goals, that will help develop her (and other athletes’) problem-solving skills and develop her confidence. As she accomplishes each weekly goal, she will naturally feel a sense of accomplishment. Then she will notice the improvement in her playing time. With her improved skills, she is earning more playing time and her confidence is growing.
Without a private coach, she may not understand how to create smaller, attainable goals, that help her grow and develop. The skill to take a larger goal and break it down into smaller, more manageable goals will carry over into other areas of her life.
Soccer players can see gains in their performance in only a few private sessions. This helps to stimulate their confidence. The shift in their attitude because of the increase in their confidence helps that soccer player tackle future obstacles and challenges. These can be on or off the field. Small wins help to inspire an athlete to keep working on their goals and skills. It helps to reinforce positive behavior.
Chapter 3: Motivation
Motivation is a factor in how successful a player can be. Motivation can also ruin a player. Improving your confidence comes down to figuring out your own intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.
Intrinsic motivation is doing something because it brings you joy and happiness. Intrinsic motivation is typically more valuable because players always perform at a high level when they are playing the game to have fun and for the joy and happiness of being out on the field and playing a sport they love.
Extrinsic motivation is doing something based on meeting or obtaining a goal, reward, or praise from others. Extrinsic motivation is important as well because teams will always get more out of the individual when each player is bought in and working towards a common goal (ex. winning the conference or division or winning a trophy at a tournament)
There are various reasons behind a soccer player’s motivation. Anything from seeing improvement in their skills, receiving praise for their performance, winning, and even the love of the game.
An athlete must find the motivation to become a stronger soccer player. It can be difficult to develop motivation in large team practices. In smaller groups and private sessions, athletes can focus on what they are doing and need to do and develop their motivation for playing soccer.
Steps to Identify and Improve on Your own:
- Take 5 minutes to sit and write out all the reasons you play the game of soccer.
- Look at your list and identify each reason as either an intrinsic or extrinsic motivator.
- Remember it is okay for players to be both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated.
Chapter 4: Attention
In team settings, it is hard for your athlete to get the necessary attention to identify various aspects they need to work on. Team practice is designed to make the team better, not the player.
Social peer pressure can negatively impact an athlete’s performance. Distractions and the perceived pressure of an audience can cut into technical skills that have not yet been mastered. When an athlete has not mastered their skills or movements, insecurity can grow.
To learn more about how learning in front of peers can be harmful to development, check out this great Blayze article on the subject.
There are only so many coaches for each team. Even in clubs with a larger coaching staff, the ratio is usually more than 1:6 coach to player. If your kid needs more attention or you want them to have more personalized attention, you must go outside of the club for assistance.
Even coaches at the D1 college level want their players to seek out private coaching. This is because the team coaches do not have time to focus individually on each player. So, if a player is lagging in a skill, those team coaches might identify the issue, but they do not typically have the time to devote to that athlete to help them improve.
Good private coaches are not only focused on individual skills. They are focused on skill building and knowledge building. A key part of what Blayze coaches do (and what a good private coach should do) is helping a player with what to study. As well as how to study the game.
By supplying videos or parts of games and going through game film and helping the player understand communication, positioning, tactical knowledge, and how to build tactical knowledge. As a player builds their knowledge of the game their decision-making gets better and quicker.
Often times the fastest players on the field aren’t the fastest physically but make decisions quickly that let them beat their opponents. They will not only be better at their skills but be faster and better in the game because they see the game faster and can read the game better.
Helping the player have a deeper understanding of all the dynamics of the game. Only a private coach has that kind of time to dedicate to a player to truly develop their knowledge of the game and their individual skills.
Chapter 5: More Time to Improve
When using a private coach, soccer players can spend more time working on their weaknesses. A quality coach can identify what a player is lacking from an early start. They know if the athlete is good at kicking the ball, has a solid first touch, or if they are slow on their runs. When a coach understands their weaknesses, they can develop a personalized plan that helps improve those weaknesses, while also focusing on their strengths.
A great private coach helps a player study what the best players in the world do. They give them access to what the best in the world are doing and explains why they are doing it. Then the private coach helps create a pathway for their athlete to reach their goals.
In team practice, players can watch each other and learn from each other. But not all players learn at the same pace. Having time set aside to focus and work on fundamentals can help your athlete enormously.
More time training helps a player reach their full potential. But focused training on set goals helps a player reach that potential faster.
It is important to remember that as with anything in life, the results of private training are not instantaneous. One speed and agility session will not make your soccer player the fastest kid on the team overnight. It takes practice, time, and repetition.
One of our sayings at Blayze is:
Repetitions + quality non-biased feedback + focus = improved performance
A private coach understands this equation, breaks it down easily and helps a player get all 3 inputs that directly lead to improved performance.
Chapter 6: Grow Comfortable With the Ball
A player needs to feel comfortable kicking the ball, as well as running and passing with the ball. Ball control is what makes a soccer player stand out. When you use a private coach, your player will work in smaller groups so they will get more touches on the ball. Large team practices limit their touches on the ball. In a private session, a player could potentially touch the ball over 1,000 times! Where at team practice, they may only touch the ball 100-400 times. Those touches add up over time. You will notice how much better your child is with the ball at their feet.
Technical soccer skills are often overlooked in team practices. But this is a critical component of a soccer player’s skillset. Private soccer training is a great way for players to master these skills that are too difficult to master in a game situation.
An expert eye can help assess your athlete’s skill as to where they are today, what the finite details are of what they need to improve upon, how they are going to improve them, and why they want to improve them. Then the private coach helps to form a plan of attack to move forward.
Players at the professional level are still working on their core fundamentals. It seems that as an athlete improves one skill, one of the others might start to lag. So, your athlete needs to focus on that other fundamental a bit. Athletes slowly move their fundamentals up, then refine, refine, refine over time. It is constant improvement. This is why Steph Curry is still working on his three-point shot.
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi was notorious for training the fundamentals into his professional footballers. He believed his team would become the best in the league by training the skills that everyone else took for granted. The basics. The fundamentals of the game are what led his teams to NFL Championships.
Training with a private coach helps a soccer player grow more comfortable with the ball at their feet. This leads to greater mastery of other soccer fundamental skills.
Chapter 7: Who Should Use a Private Coach?
The best way to train effectively on your soccer skills is to use a private coach who will guide you on your training journey. This unbiased opinion can help you pinpoint areas to improve upon and fill in lacking game knowledge.
What age does my child need to be to use a private soccer coach?
This question is asked a lot. Why? Because everyone has a different opinion on the matter. While most would state anywhere from ages 10 to 16 is the prime age to work with a private coach, we all know that college-level and professional soccer players also work with private coaches.
Many parents assume their kid is too young. However, if your child started soccer at an older age, there is nothing wrong with getting a private coach to help them get caught up on technical skills.
For example, maybe your daughter started soccer at 10 years old and picked up the sport quickly. But you noticed she is not as skilled in ball dribbling or passing as some of her other teammates. Try a few sessions with a private coach to see if she is ready.
Private sessions, outside of team practices, can help nearly all players improve their skills and gameplay.
Should my kid use a private coach if they are not a starter?
Absolutely! This is one of the best reasons to use a private coach. These are the exact kids that should be working with a private coach. It is not something just for the kids that take it super seriously or want to play in college or professionally. A private coach will help them enjoy the sport more, get better, and build confidence in all areas of life.
Can I afford a private coach?
Private coaching can be expensive and it may not be affordable for everyone. Depending on who you use as a private coach or what facility you go to for additional training, private lessons can range from the low end of $45 per session to upwards of $200 per session. With a session typically lasting about one hour. Athletes receive 1:1 training and can be mentored along the way.
You can go to off-season camps that range in price from $200 to over $2,000 per week of training. If you go to a boarding camp these costs can be higher. In these camps, you typically see a player-to-coach ratio of 8:1 (or more).
There’s always training on your own. Training apps like Techne or Dribble Up work from your phone or tablet. They are typically monthly subscriptions ranging from $9.99 a month upwards to $25 a month or more. You may need to purchase equipment to go along with these apps.
Also, there are thousands of free videos online demonstrating different drills. These can be a good source to get an idea of what to work on, however, you need to be careful. Anyone can post drills online but may not be credible sources. Make sure you do some research before following an online coach.
To get a better understanding of the various types of private coaching and their costs, read our breakdown here.
At Blayze, we take a unique stance on private lessons in that we think anyone should be able to get the information and knowledge they are looking for. Our online learning platform combines both personal training with private coaching feedback. Take a look at one of our Blayze private soccer coaching sessions here.
Chapter 8: How Do You Know if You Have a Good Private Coach?
Private coaching gives the player the level of detail to master each facet of the game. It gives the athlete the what, the why, and the how in depth. It does not stop at skill building. Private coaching also includes knowledge-based objectives like studying game film and the why behind it.
It is also building confidence by knowing how to get from A to B, creating the plan, and developing a personalized roadmap of how to accomplish each goal. This helps the athlete stay on the pathway to the next point they want to reach.
So how do you know if you have a good private coach?
Some private coaches focus too much on making money. The business of private coaching is growing rapidly, and parents continue to pay a premium for a one-hour private lesson. This is a small price to help your child reach their potential. However, you want to make sure you are investing your money wisely and efficiently.
Look back through the objectives we presented here and ask yourself if your private coach is meeting these criteria. Are they only focused on individual skill development? Do they take the time to explain how the game works? Are they helping your player understand their position and how their position affects the team as a whole?
Does your private coach stress the importance of game knowledge as much as they are stressing individual skills? Is your private coach taking the time to watch your game film to see how you move during the game? Game film allows the coach to see what you do while a game is going on. Games are two parts, individual skill, and teamwork. A quality private coach knows this and can form a plan on how to develop a player’s individual skill and work that into the player’s team/game dynamics.
Is your athlete comfortable working with the private coach? What is the point of training with an expensive private coach if your player cannot be honest with him/her? If your player cannot speak up for how they feel, and what they want, or bring any issues to the coach, they will miss out on a mentorship opportunity, and it will do nothing to grow their confidence.
A great question to ask your private coach is what their process is for your teaching your child to improve on certain skills or facets of the game. If their answer rambles on or seems scattered, then that is probably a bad sign.
A good private coach has a process. They know the fundamentals and in which order to teach the fundamentals for any facet of the game. They have a plan that they can communicate concisely and that makes sense.
Learn More With Blaze!
Blayze professional coaches know what it is like to work hard to accomplish their dreams. They help youth athletes identify areas of improvement and develop a realistic plan on how to accomplish goals. Our athletes are learning more than skill development. They are learning life lessons of perseverance, overcoming hurdles, and the responsibility of managing their success.
Blayze coaches are current professional athletes. They know what the best in the world do because they are the best in the world.
Through training or game film analysis, our coaches can hone in on your gameplay skills and customize coaching that drives performance where you need it most, in games.
With weekly custom training plans, Blayze coaches give you the individual drills you need to improve the skills you’re working on. These are drills that the pro players do themselves in and out of the season.
Through chat messages + live calls, your coach is there to support you through every moment.
Want to make the JV team but have no clue where to start? Your Blayze coach is there ready to help you set your mini goals that lead up to your main goal and hold you accountable.
Want to get a college scholarship? Your coach can help you with your highlight tape + give you everything you need.
All of this is available through our Blayze program. Sign up and select your dedicated private pro coach at Blayze and try it for one month for just $29!