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The Ultimate Tournament Guide for Soccer Coaches

Clearly, soccer coaches need to approach tournament play a little differently from week-to-week league play. The physical demands on players are far greater when they're playing up to five games within a few short days, and these demands can be exacerbated by the unique nutritional challenges that come along with tournament play.

Getting players to focus on your tactics may be more difficult with all the excitement going on around them, too.

Then there is the fact that you have quite possibily never seen your opponent play before. You have to assess their strengths and weaknesses in the first few minutes of the game and make your own adjustments accordingly. You also have very little time to communicate those adjustments to your players on the sideline and zero practice time between games to work on problems.

Soccer Coach Talking to Team Even before your team arrives at the tournament, what to look for when planning which events to attend is also critically important. Are you trying to test your players at a higher level against tougher competition? Or do they need a morale-boosting, team-building experience (not to mention a few wins) before the start of the new season?

In this section of the site, we'll take you through a few of the issues that you, as a coach, may come up against as you plan your team's tournament schedule. Of course, a lot of coaches also double up as team managers so you might want to take a look at some of the articles we have in that part of the site, as well.

For more great coaching advice, you should check out And if you have any ideas for topics you'd like us to cover, feel free to drop us a line by filling out our feedback form here.

Related Stories About Coaching in Youth Soccer Tournaments

Redefining Competition in Youth Soccer. Competition is a hot word out there in the soccer world. Everyone agrees that competition lies at the core of soccer’s value; it makes the game fun and exciting while improving players. But to what degree should competition function in youth soccer tournaments that risk emphasizing winning over more important aspects of player development, such as fun and improvement?

In-Game Coaching At Tournaments. Over-coaching, or over-instruction, has become one of the worst plagues in American Youth soccer. It flares up most during tournaments, when the intense atmosphere and emphasis on winning causes coaches to try to control their players’ every movement.

Coaching Your First Futsal Tournament. For many soccer coaches, both veterans and novices, coaching a futsal tournament is a new concept. Although the sport shares the same DNA as soccer, coaches should be aware of the unique benefits that the sport provides and the unique approach to coaching it allows.

The Importance of "Down Time" at Tournaments. “Down time,” or the off time that occurs between and after games, serves as a crucial period for players to relax, unwind, bond, and recharge. As a coach, you should think about the purpose such time serves and the opportunities it allows.

Choosing the Right Soccer Tournament. Choosing the right soccer tournament for your team to play in is the crucial first step in ensuring a successful trip. Here are a few of the things a coach needs to consider.

General Tournament Advice for Youth Soccer Coaches. Success in youth soccer tournaments requires a different approach to that of weekly regular-season play. Here are a few words of tournament advice for youth soccer coaches.

Soccer Tournament Nutrition. Any coach who's looking for on-field success in soccer tournaments needs to pay attention to the unique nutritional challenges posed by soccer tournaments. Here are our top ten tips for improved soccer tournament nutrition for you team.

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