Coaching - Use Bench Time to Instruct Players During Games

Coaching - Use Bench Time to Instruct Players During Games

Dick Moss

In sports such as soccer, players often lost interest while sitting on the bench. This is particularly true of young athletes.

However, coaches who allow such disinterest in their players are missing a tremendous coaching opportunity.

Coaching for Bench Players
Instead of taking a laissez-faire attitude with your bench players, have them gather near you or one of your assistant coaches. Tell them that their job is to support their teammates, and to listen to their coaches' comments.

Then, provide coaching instruction as the game progresses. For example, "See how their team stays spread out on the field." Or, "Did you see how Fred made that wall pass?" Such instructional moments can be particularly effective because they are taking place in real competitive situations.

You could also assign benched players a task that will ensure their focus on the game - for example, counting the number of passes your team makes on each possession.

Better Team Cohesion
Another advantage of providing instruction for bench players is that it will make every athlete, even those who don't play often, feel like important members of the team. The result will be better team cohesion, better team spirit, and a more informed, knowledgeable roster of players.


1. John Calipari and Michael Sokolove, Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out, Penguin Books, 2015.

2. Pat McCarry, " Game Day Coaching," Soccer Journal (c/o the National Soccer Coaches Association of America) September/October 2007. 


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