Irish Grassroots Football

Are the players feeling unchallenged?

It’s a difficult time of year to keep your players motivated, all this bad weather means very few matches are being played.

When you train so much (the journey) and then there is no outcome (the game) it can be hard for players to stay focused. I’m in this dilemma myself. When a players put so much into training and then week after week there is no end result, they can start to lose focus and feel disheartened.

‘Players loved to be challenged, if they are not being challenged they become bored’

You could end up with players come to training lacking enthusiasm and some might not attend at all. When players know there is going to be no game at the weekend they will lose the desire to train and their attitude can shift as they are not being challenged enough.

The game is the challenge; it is their opportunity to show you what they have learnt. All kids want to do, is play and when they’re not playing (the game) they can become disillusioned. We are dealing with a generation that don’t really understands what it’s like to be bored. Everything they do is organised, so being bored is not normal to them. That’s why we need to be prepared for times like this and the players also need to be prepared to challenge themselves and not fall into a bored state of mind. Ultimately it’s going to be you who challenges them.

Here are a few things to focus on during these weeks:

  1. Make training FUN, you too might be feeling a little uninterested not having last weekends match points to work on. If you’re showing a lack of interest so will the players.
  2. Make sure training is challenging your players to think & make decisions at all times.
  3. Use the ball at all times.
  4. Make training game related and interesting.
  5. Use cognitive training methods to keep them focused and sharp. see Cogi 
  6. Leave time for a game at the end and for free play i.e. no conditions
  7. Put on an extra session at the weekend and try to use this time for games only. The best part of training is always the game towards the end.
  8. Organise friendlies with opposition teams, if you can get an 11 aside, there are plenty of SSG pitches, so why not play two 7v7 games at once. This way all the kids are playing and getting lots of touches, plenty goals and it’s more competitive than training.
  9. Use this time to assess your players, give them an evaluation of their session so far.
  10. If you didn’t take a break over Christmas and your feeling tired of seeing the same faces, hearing your voice – take sometime out. Take the week off; a break is good for everyone.

I hope this helps and please comment below if you’re experiencing the same issues and tell me, what’s working for you?


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