Player Reflection Tool

Communication and leadership


Complete the form

First, complete the 55 questions below as accurately as you can

Choose a topic area

View your results and choose an area to study

Identify two aims

Use video tasks to identify two specific things to work on

Practice to improve

Let your coach know what you are working on

This webpage has been especially designed to help you improve your communication and leadership skills in football. The tips and tasks on this page could also be used to improve your communication and leadership skills in other areas of life, such as in the school classroom. Your mission is to complete all the homework tasks below and identify two key specific things that you want to work on and try to improve in your practice sessions, team training or on your own.

We will begin by hearing from England Manager, Gareth Southgate, who gives his views on leadership in football. We will then consider different types of communication, including non-verbal communication. Jurgen Klopp, Vincent Kompany and Megan Rapinoe then provide useful role models for leadership, before we examine what this looks like on the pitch with a spotlight on England Captain, Steph Houghton.

Watch the video on the right, in which Gareth Southgate describes the importance of communication and leadership in football.

Football is a team game and communication is vital in order to perform well together. In a team, it is important that all players have the confidence and skills to talk and listen to each other. Leadership skills are important in order to motivate each other, to remain positive, and to keep everyone focused on their performance.

Let's begin by describing what a good football leader and communicator does well:

  • Encourages, motivates and composes team mates
  • Listens well to others
  • Has respectful body language
  • Is confident to make decisions, suggest ideas and organise others


Effective talking to team-mates in games

When we talk to our team-mates during games, we need to have a special kind of communication. Football games are quick and our words often need to be effective immediately. In order to make what you say more effective:

  • Use names
  • Be loud, direct and specific
  • Be positive and respectful
  • Be patient (team-mates won't always do what you tell them!)

Here are some examples of effective talking to a team-mate:

  • "Vikram, Pressure the ball!"         
  • "Hannah, Push up!"         
  • "Max, Back if you need me!"

These examples are useful because they use a name first - to get attention. This is then followed by specific, effective instructional phrase.


Think of the last football game you played in. Think of three situations when you could have instructed or directed a team-mate? Write down what you should have said in these situations.

Listening to team-mates in games

When we think of communication, most of us immediately think of talking. In fact, good listening is just as important as good talking. When you're playing football, you need to be open to instructions from team-mates. That does not mean you have always have to do as they ask, but you need to consider what they are saying as it might help you to make a better decision.

For example, if you have the ball and a team-mate calls for it, you need to hear them call. This will allow you to consider passing to them. You may decide not to pass them the ball because you think there is a better option, but if you don't hear them then you may miss the chance to give them the ball.

Try to play football with your ears open as well as your eyes open.


Communication with the coach

In order to learn football well, it is important to have a good relationship with your coach. You need to understand what they are teaching you, and you need to be comfortable to ask for clarification if you don't understand. Make sure you listen properly to instructions in games and practices.


Non-verbal communication

As much as 50% to 70% of human communication in non-verbal.


Consider the facial expressions and body language below. What does each of them convey?

Which of these expressions and body language can you use on the football pitch to help motivate your team and communicate positive feelings?


Some people use the term "born leader", as if leaders are born with all the skills they need. But this is not true. Leadership skills are learnt. It takes a lot of practice, but we can all do it. Great leaders are usually the people who have worked hardest to develop the key leadership skills.

In this section we will look at the qualities of a leader, and how you can develop these qualities in your football practices and games. 


Below are profiles of three great leaders in football: Megan Rapinoe, Jurgen Klopp, Vincent Kompany. 

Megan Rapinoe

Vincent Kompany

Jurgen Klopp

Choose one the these leaders. Google them and find out about their career and their achievements. Watch the videos in the profile below.

Write a paragraph describing what skills they have as a leader, and what you can learn from them.

Here are some of the qualities that a great leader might have:

  1. Great communication and organisational skills
  2. Hard working in games, High skill levels, Excellent game understanding
  3. Passionate, Determined, Inspiring, Confident, Loyal, Courageous

To develop these qualities takes practice, and you need to start now. In your next three football practices and games, here are some ways you can practice and develop your leadership skills:

  • Practice talking to your team-mates, guiding them and advising them.
  • Motivate and encourage others.
  • Use confident, positive body language.
  • If you are in a group with your team-mates, take the lead and suggest ideas.
  • Ask your coach questions about your game, and ways you could improve.
  • Practice, practice, practice with a ball on your own. Aim to develop great ball skills.


Finally, watch this video of England captain, Steph Houghton. See how she captains and leads her team, as well as taking pride in her own individual performance. 

  • What do see her demonstrate from the work you have done above?
  • What extra or other leadership qualities does she have?

Player Reflection Tool - Home

Dear Learner,

Welcome to your HOMEWORK page! Here you will learn about your chosen topic. It is a good idea to save the URL for this page to your favourites so you can easily return to it when you need to.

You need to work through the tasks on the page, one at a time. This might mean watching videos, it might mean doing other tasks and activities. It may be a good idea to take notes also. Remember that the more work and effort you put into the tasks, the more you will learn and the better you will become.

For most topics, there will be a PRINT OUT at the bottom of the page. You need to print this, complete the questions, and take to your coach. You need to do this so the coaches know what you are working on and are able to help you.

If any of the links on this page are broken, or you have other ideas or suggestions, please get in touch at:


Mark Carter

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Once you have completed all the homework, click on the 'Print the form' link. This will open a form which you need to print out and complete. Take this completed form to your coach.

Then click here to move onto the last part of the Tool.

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Mark Carter

07772 716 876