Your time working remotely with your team is what you make of it. Consider these insights on how to make the most of your virtual sessions.

Welcome to the new world of remote soccer coaching. Please unmute your lines accordingly.

Right now is the perfect time to evaluate your team or program. Here are some tips on how to keep communication with your players running at full throttle, while leveling up their intellect.

For more ways to communicate with your team and suggestions for the best video conferencing, messaging and content sharing tools, you can also check out our Remote Coaching Guide

Unwind and bring the fun back

Your remote ses­sions shouldn’t be all business, all the time. 

It’s important to balance some fun in there—and believe it or not, your team’s sociability has an impact on how they perform on the pitch. Take it from Georgia Gwinnett College women’s soccer coach Mike Giuliano, who appoints players to be in charge of the team’s social culture. 

“To the degree that a team gets along, to the degree that a team does things outside of their training environment, that will affect not only the quality of the experience, but it will affect how well they play and how many games they win,” Giuliano says. “Our social events are as equally as important as our training events are.”

Need some ideas on how to lighten the mood? He has plenty of good ones, from online games to “player of the day” videos, where teammates dish on their favorite quotes, jokes and hobbies.

Host watch parties

You’re probably going to gloss over more film than ever these next few months. But why restrict it to just your own? 

High school and club coaches leverage college and pro film in their teaching lessons all the time. When players see the same gameplan being carried out by some of the best in the sport, it brings everything home—and also shows them you’re not just making this up as you go.

Cincinnati Development Academy girls director David Robertson also looks at this as a great opportunity to test your players’ passion for the game. He’ll assign players homework on some iconic professional soccer matches that underscore his various teaching points. In that context, is it really homework after all?

Get out of your comfort zone and explore new ideas

As NWSL Players Association executive director Yael Averbuch mentioned in our chat this spring, creativity isn’t about some contrarian jolt of wisdom or being abstract for abstract’s sake. It’s about doing whatever it takes to reach your goal, no matter the conditions.

There’s a certain liberation that comes with that mentality. The most respected thinkers in a given sport are often the most open-minded ones. 

At Real Salt Lake, academy goalkeeper coach Luke Baxter often draws inspiration from other sports with how he develops his keepers. From futsal to handball to ice hockey, if it’s a team sport, it’s probably in play.

“Any team sport you look at—basketball, handball, lacrosse—all these different types of sports, are definitely transferrable into soccer,” Baxter says. “We see a lot of different techniques and shapes, and I think part of that is the speed at which the game moves now. It’s obvious that the game is faster, so goalkeepers have to make decisions a little bit quicker, more effectively. Some of these techniques you’re seeing enable them to do so.”

So what does this mean for you? There’s never going to be a better time than now to explore what you’ve always wanted to. Share that curiosity with your players. Consider making it a time block in your check-in calls with players, or adding it to your next email blast. 

Set up a monthly 'book club'

This doesn’t have to be strictly books, per se. And you don’t have to worship at the altar of Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho to level up your coaching chops either. 

The great thing about this transition to a remote world is there’s a limitless supply of insights from sharp soccer minds around the world on varied online resources—and most of it is easily accessible.

Robertson built this document of the webinars, podcasts, eBooks and websites he frequents, as well as Twitter accounts to follow. Take some bits and pieces from this hub and give it to your players to consume, then set up some time each month to talk about it.

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Remember: you set the tone. It’s up to you to show com­pas­sion. What you do now can have a seismic impact on how the team works together when you’re able to meet up again, so take advantage and have fun with it. 

Want to see how Hudl’s video analysis tools play into your new remote workflow? Take a look at all our offerings, or talk to an expert about setting up a free demo.