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State DOC Blog

A blog from Jacob Daniel, Georgia Soccer's State Director of Coaching. If you have comments, questions, or topic suggestions, please send them to


Reactive Coach vs Proactive Coach

Jacob Daniel- State DOC

Every soccer aficionado has heard about the successful youth academies of top clubs such as Barcelona and Ajax.  Most coaches know that these professional club academies have nurtured and established a distinct playing style and formation, based on the club’s coaching philosophy.   Individual coaches at these academies cannot do their own thing but must follow an established curriculum and a set of principles developed over the years by the club.

This fact makes me wonder about the coaching methodology used by coaches at these top academies, how different is it from the way we coach here and what we can learn from their approach.  I came up with two definitions of coaching:  Reactive coaching and Proactive coaching.

A reactive coach teaches his/her players by watching his team play and correcting whatever he/she sees and feels needs correcting.  Even if the information from the coach is technically correct, there is a randomness to the process and a lack of coherence or direction.  It’s like throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping something will stick.

A proactive coach starts out with the intent to teach his players to play in a specific way.  He/she articulates clearly his vision of the playing style and basically tells his/her team:  This is how we are going to play! The coach then uses the games to fine tune the playing style and corrects whatever doesn’t fit his vision.

No prize for guessing which coaching style is more effective.  Most of our youth coaches are reactive coaches.  We need to educate our coaches to become proactive.


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