How to Motivate Soccer Players Advice from Famous Coaches

"Usually a championship team is built on a strong defense. That is something you can bring to every game. A great attack is always going to be inconsistent – at least on the scoreboard - that's the nature of the game." Anson Dorrance in "The Vision of a Champion"

April Heinrichs on practice: "Build competition into the practice. It's more fun and better prepares players for real soccer matches". April Heinrichs was Soccer America's "Player of the Decade" for the 1980's, a 3 time All American at the University of North Carolina where she scored 87 goals in 90 games and Anson Dorrance said she was one of the best he has ever seen at 1 v 1 attacking, the first female player voted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Captain of the World Cup Championship team in 1991, Head Coach of the U.S. U-16 Girl's National Team, Head Coach at the University of Virginia, and at the time of our interview she coached the U.S. Women's National Team.

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where the puck is." Wayne Gretsky, great hockey player when asked how he scores so many goals.

"You can't think and hit at the same time." Yogi Berra (Note from David - this one is wise, don't think when you need to react)

Ability is what you're capable of doing.

Motivation determines what you do.

Attitude determines how well you do it.

Lou Holtz

Habits are critical for players. They cannot think and play well at the same time. Don Meyer, winningest men's college basketball coach (over 900 victories)

The three best things I've learned in coaching: my players must play Hard, Hard, Hard. John Wild

R.E.P.S.- Repetition Elevates Personal Skills. Conor Gillen

It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test. Lou Holtz

Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity. Lou Holtz

Win or lose, do it fairly. Knute Rockne, football coach

The secret is to work less as individuals and more as a team. As a coach, I play not my eleven best, but my best eleven. Knute Rockne

Measure yourself as a coach not by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished given the ability of your players and the strength of your competition. John Wooden

Never mistake activity for achievement. John Wooden

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. John Wooden

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes. John Wooden

Most games are lost, not won. Casey Stengel, baseball coach

You never lose a game if the opponent doesn’t score. Darrell Royal, football coach

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Darrell Royal

Great effort springs naturally from a great attitude. Pat Riley

Bear Bryant on how you win: A reporter said to Coach Bryant: "Coach Bryant, I notice you spend almost all your practice time on your team’s strengths and little on their weaknesses, why is that?" Coach Bryant said "You win games with your strengths, not your weaknesses."

A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are. Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame football coach

It's the attitude of the players, not their skills, that is the biggest factor in determining whether you win or lose. Harry Sinden

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Henry David Thoreau

First master the fundamentals. Larry Bird

The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot. Bill Russell

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

It is foolish to expect a young man to follow your advice and to ignore your example. Unknown

Coaching does not permit democracy. Jeff Brown

Keep it simple, when you get too complex you forget the obvious. Al Maguire

You can not control how high 'he' jumps. You cannot control how fast 'he' is. You can not control how great 'he' is. But he can not control how hard 'YOU' play. Brian Merritt

Lack of confidence is born from a lack of preparation. Shannon Wilburn

Professional coaches measure success in rings. College coaches measure success in championships. High School coaches measure success in titles. Youth coaches measure success in smiles. Unknown

The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital. Joe Paterno

Attitude is the whole thing in football. Every team has the talent and the coaching. Motivation makes the difference. The teams that win stay healthy and interested. Sid Gillman

No one plays this or any game perfectly. It's the guy who recovers from his mistakes who wins. Phil Jackson

If you want to get the best out of a man, you must look for the best that's in him. Unknown

The deepest principal in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. William James

TEAM stands for:





"Hard work alone won't guarantee success, but without hard work, I'll guarantee you won't have success." Bruce Pearl, basketball coach

Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The coaches who win are the ones who can motivate their players. Vince Lombardi

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Vince Lombardi

The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have. Vince Lombardi

Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence. Vince Lombardi

Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. Vince Lombardi

It's easy to have faith in yourself and discipline when you're a winner. But if you want to be a winner you must have faith and discipline even when you're not a winner. Vince Lombardi

Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man. Sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can. Vince Lombardi

Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price. Vince Lombardi

Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Vince Lombardi

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