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Fundamental Soccer Blog

Malta National Team Coach Responds

I am responding to your questionnaire, which I hope you will find worthy.

I observed that football (soccer) in the US dedicates so much to the physical aspect, which is very important. Still, one needs to work on basic techniques, which should be given more attention, especially at a very young age.

I do not like to separate coaches between males and females. Coaches are individuals who teach differently and have their own ways of getting their messages across. I have met outstanding male coaches in women’s football, while I have also encountered fantastic female coaches. Coaches occasionally get wrong when coaching girls to accept mediocrity and not push their players as much as if they were males.

The successful methods have evolved depending on the age of the players and the level of play I was coaching. However, constant honest encouragement and always pushing players out of their comfort zones seems to work. I also emphasize the individual’s mental power, removing fear and turning that energy into power. Early learning basic techniques is the best base a player can have.

I have been unsuccessful when I tried to change many things at once. Females seem to work better in the perimeters they feel comfortable with. So, implementing changes and pushing players needs time, patience, and explaining the process of changes step by step. After getting the players on board, can changes be made?

To improve themselves, young girls should always stay out of their comfort zones and practice even with boys if it is a better level. Staying in love with the game and setting goals and challenges step by step is the way to go.

What major changes would you make to improve youth soccer coaches/players if you had a magic wand?

Unfortunately, I have no magic wand; however, hard work, care, and dedication will usually do the trick.

Mark Gatt

Head Coach Women's National Team Malta; Project Program Coordinator Fun Fit Football; UEFA Pro License.