Struggling to Make the First Team?

Are you constantly sitting on the bench and playing in the reserves squad?

Spending game after game on the bench and getting 10 - 15 minutes on the pitch can be very frustrating when you're trying to make the starting first team. You feel as if you're never going to be given a chance and at times you hope the team doesn't do so well so the coach will make a change. It's an awful feeling to hope that your teammates don't succeed so you can finally get your chance.

It can be hard to accept that you just need to be patient and wait for your turn because you will definitely get a chance at some point; it then becomes about what you do with that chance. But what do you do if your coach is very resistant to playing you? What can you do if you feel like your efforts are not being noticed? Well before you decide to leave the club there are two things you can definitely do!

  1. Talk with your coach and ask him how you can improve

Before or after training, ask your coach for 15 minutes of his time for a conversation about his opinion on how you can improve. This will do two things - it will show him that you're committed and that you highly value his opinion. The great benefit to this is that you are indirectly flattering him as a coach by complimenting his opinion, he will feel good about himself after this. He will also see you as a player who is dedicated and ambitious with your goal of becoming a better player. 
When he sees you as a player who wants to improve, he will do everything he can to help you. After this one simple conversation, you can dramatically increase your chances of being selected or being given a better opportunity.

      2. Analyse your coaches' playing style and think about the value you can add

Every coach has their own way of playing and either rightly or wrongly, they believe it's the best way to play. The players they select to play in their starting XI are the players that they think will best fit into the system. Even if you disagree with the system, if you want to make it into the starting team then you need to find a way to fit into this system.
You also need to think about the value that you can add to his team and how this fits his style of play. What about your playing style adds value to the team? What can you do differently or better than the players who are currently starting?
You need to find your own point of difference that makes you stand out from the other players your coach has got to choose from. This is about looking at it from your coaches' point of view. When you observe it from his perspective, it's much easier to understand why you may not be getting picked. Once you've got this mindset, you can begin to put a plan in place on how you can distinguish yourself from the pack. 


Both of these methods will greatly increase your chances of getting picked into the starting team. However, at the end of the day it will always come back to your performance on the pitch. Work hard, train harder than everyone else and eventually you will be able to make the most of your opportunity.

Thanks for reading,

Chris Toovey

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