How to do a structured pre-game speech.

You have to play a game with your team and you want to give a pregame speech. The first question you have to ask yourself: “What do I want to tell my players?”. With this article I provide a structure to you. If you will use this structure you will be sure that your pre-game speech makes sense.
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I recently wrote an other article about the pre-game speech, ”10 Tips to make your pre-game speech stick”. If you are able to combine these 2 articles your pre-game speech will definitely help your players!

Start your pregame speech with some general information.
The first part of the pregame speech you have to give the players some general information. Who do we play against, what is their position in the league. Have they scored a lot of goals and did they get a lot of goals against them scored? Just some basic information. I always tell something about the weather and the field. If the field is real dry this inflects the dribbling possibilities. I also ask the players some questions about the last game we played. What went well and what didn’t?

Tell your players about the opponent, in a structured way!

The second part of the pregame speech is not for every coach. If you are coaching on a lower level or have no access to this kind of information, you can just skip this part. If you have played against your opponent before you can use that information.

Tell some about their system of play. Whether they play in the 1-4-3-3 system or the 1-4-4-2 system makes a huge difference. This information a critical. After telling something about their system you should tell how the opponent tries to attack. An example you can tell them: The opponent tries to pass the ball behind our defence and pick it up with their quick offence. Tell your players something about the strengths and weaknesses of their offence? After telling something about the offence of the opponent their defence is the next subject you talk about in your pre-game speech. You are telling the same kind of thing you did in the offence part. How do they try do defend? Maybe they play full pressure or just the opposite. Tell something about the strengths and weaknesses of their defence.

After you handled these key points you can choose to tell some additional things. You can tell about the strengths and weaknesses of their transition, remarkable point in their game and how they handle set pieces.

Tell your players about their own team, in a structured way!
After telling your team something about the opponent now it’s time to tell your players something about them. If you haven’t told your player anything about the opponent, that’s no problem.

You should tell them in this part of your pregame speech only thing about your team. Explain tasks to them. I always try to relate our strengths and weaknesses to the opponents. You are just going to do the same subjects as you did in the opponent part. So you start with telling something about your formation. Does your team use the 1-4-3-3 system of play or the 1-4-4-2 (or any other one)? You can announce the line-up and substitutes. After that tell something about your offence. So if you told something about the opponent try to relate it. With this strength we can take advantage of these weaknesses of the opponent. In this part you should be real concrete. Give the players tasks they understand.

After talking about your offence you will do the same with for your offence. So if you can, relate it to the opponent and give the players concrete tasks. An example of a concrete task can be: If the goalie is having the ball I want you to go wide, 5 yards from the sideline. After this part you can choose to tell something about transition en set pieces.

A short summary of the point your pre-game speech
You should keep this structure so your players start to recognize the pre-game speech and the points you will cover:
– system of play
– Offence, strengths and weaknesses
– Defence, strengths and weaknesses
– Transition, strengths and weaknesses
– Remarkable points
– Set pieces

At what age do you start with a pre-game speech?
If you keep the structure, you can start at a young age with a pregame speech. You always have to adjust the speech and structure to the ability of your players. So if you are coaching an u12 team you might want to only do the defence of the opponent and the offence of your team. That’s just it. If you see the pre-game speech is helping your players you can start adding other parts to your speech. So you can build up the speech so your players won’t get overwhelmed.

I’m kind of curious how you build up your pre-game speech. Please leave a comment and tell me and all other Great Soccer Coaching readers.

filed under: game speeches
Tagged with: game speech, pre-game, pre-game speech, pregame, pregame speech