How to build a positive team

Guide All Ages

This process starts with your players. But, when it comes to football, a team means everyone. Parents, carers, staff and volunteers all have their part to play – and it’s important to make sure they’re welcomed and included.
Here are some simple ways to promote positivity and get everyone involved, along with some insight from a former England captain.
Create a warm welcome As a coach, your role is to help everyone in your team feel valued – and to keep them coming back for more. So, make sure you:

  • greet individuals by name as they arrive
  • make time to connect – ask people about their week and listen to their answers
  • keep your tone friendly and relaxed. 

If you’ve got a new starter, remember that they might be a bit nervous. A great tactic is to find out what they like about football and assign them a ‘buddy’ with similar interests. 

No matter who we are, there are times when we can all benefit from a friendly face. In the clip below, Steven Gerrard explains how Steve Heighway and the other coaches helped him adjust to life at Liverpool.

Being welcomed and feeling at ease

Prioritise enjoyment If you want a positive team, you need to make football fun. Players shouldn’t be standing in line waiting for their turn on the ball or worrying about making mistakes. They should have the freedom to play and the licence to get creative.

Making sessions enjoyable

To build an environment that prioritises enjoyment, allow your team to express themselves, encourage them to try new ideas and notice when they do things well. Whether you’re working with U7s or the England senior teams, everyone can benefit from this approach.

Want to know if it’s working? Spotting smiling faces is a great sign, but nothing beats checking in with your players – they might even have some ideas to make your session more fun.

Connect with parents and carers The simple fact is that no-one knows your players better or has a bigger impact on their life. So, when it comes to building a positive team – and a love of football – it’s essential that you’re all on the same page.

The importance of family

Some simple ways to connect with parents and carers include:

  • sharing your learning objectives before the session or game
  • holding your team talk within earshot
  • working together to create a code of conduct.

You can also ask them to set a good example for your players by talking to ‘opposing’ parents on matchday and respecting the referee’s decisions. 

Want to know more about how to build a positive team? Check out The FA Playmaker course – For All and for free.

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