When I was called in to coach my daughter’s soccer team, I knew I needed tools to help me train this novice group of girls. While the local rec league provided general training and gave me some great ideas on drills, I also had to think through – what soccer coach equipment would I need?
While I’ve played soccer for nearly 40 years and managed adult teams, I’d never thought about what gear a soccer coach needs? What equipment will make our practices smoother?
I’m not Ted Lasso, but I have rounded up what I consider must-haves for any soccer coach.
Must-Have Soccer Coach Equipment
While we asked each player to bring their own soccer ball, it’s inevitable that in the rush to get out the door, it can be easily forgotten.
I invested in a six-pack of soccer balls so we’d never be short at any practice, and so there’s always a spare or two so the assistant coach and I can demonstrate techniques while letting the players follow along in real time.
Coach’s Note: You’ll want to make sure that you buy the right size soccer ball for the age group you’re coaching.
Each player is responsible for bringing their own gear, water and other essentials to practice, but it’s helpful to have one large bag to store all your coaching equipment.
Or you can do what I did the first week and insist on carrying everything in your bare hands back and forth to your car and bend over countless times to pick up each and every cone as they slip out of your hands. Speaking of which…
I’m sure it’s possible to run a soccer practice without these famous orange cones, but I’d rather not.
We use these cones for drills, marking field boundaries, and assigning each player to their own station to ensure they have enough space to move around in.
There are many on the market and while they’re all pretty similar, it’s worth paying a bit extra to have a storage bag so the cones stay all together.
You can also invest in an agility ladder, soccer hurdles, or agility hoops as your team becomes more sophisticated in their practice needs.
Some practice fields may have permanent soccer goals in place, but even still, I suggest purchasing a set of portable practice goals.
Pop-up practice goals allow you to shrink and expand your playing area as your players grow and your practices change. You can move them around quickly to set up for different drills, and since by definition they’re portable, you can always be provided for a last-minute location change.
I made it through one practice before I realized just how important pinnies are.
At the end of every practice, we do a quick scrimmage so the players can immediately put their new skills to work. The first week, I divided the players into groups based on the shirt color they wore to practice – but all the all-star players happened to be wearing the same color, which made for a lopsided performance.
Fortunately, the pinnies arrived in time for the next week’s practice, and it was much easier for me to divide the team based on skill level without any of the players catching on.
I don’t have the loudest voice – and when we’re sharing a practice field with other teams, it can be challenging for all the players to hear me – especially when they’re chatting off field during a water break.
Enter another soccer coach staple: the whistle.
No need for anything fancy here – just make sure it’s on a lanyard so you don’t lose it. And maybe think about labelling or color-coding your whistles if you have other coaches on the field. Soccer balls are okay to share – spit from your whistle, not so much.
I was using a portfolio notebook from work for the first few practices, but it was hard to easily transition from one set of drills to the next since each time required me to open up the padfolio and those extra seconds were all it took for the players to become distracted.
Again, I coach 6 and 7 year old girls. Attention spans are in the milliseconds here.
With a good old-fashioned clipboard, I can easily – and quickly – reference my game plan without losing too many players. Personally, I like the kind that have storage so I can tuck in other papers, too.
We have only one hour per week for practice, which means I need to operate at maximum efficiency. As mentioned above, I have a game plan for each practice, and being able to quickly reference my plan and the time is key.
Portable Team Bench
Sure, some may classify this as a “nice-to-have” – but as the coach to a group of U8 girls, I find that a portable team bench is worth its weight in gold.
Having a team bench on the sidelines allows me to herd my team together during half-time and give them an encouraging pep talk, words of encouragement, and, let’s be real, remind them that we’re going to be switching goal directions in the second half.
First Aid Kit
Look for or assemble a first aid kit with Neosporin, band-aids, pain relievers, elastic compression bandages, and instant cold packs. Check out our article on building the ultimate soccer first aid kit.
Toss it in your coach’s soccer bag and hope you don’t have to use it – but rest easy knowing you have it in case you need it.
That’s it! The ten essential pieces of soccer coach equipment. Time to get out there and raise the next generation of soccer superstars.