Still searching for that last-minute present for the tactical guru in your life? Anxious to drop a hint to avoid receiving yet another gloves-and-scarf set? This column is here to help.
Many people get into coaching when their son, or daughter, starts taking an interest and joins a team. Sunday morning lie-ins while the kids fight over the PlayStation are replaced by car-pool duty and touchline shivering. Next comes an invitation to "help out" with training. Before long a noisy gaggle of children is waiting for you to imitate Arsène Wenger and turn them into prototype Cesc Fabregases.
This is where a copy of Fun Soccer Games for 5 to 8 Year Olds (Green Star Media, £7 in A4 size, £10 spiral-bound A5, www.coach-soccer.com/funsoccergames/index.asp) is a reputation-saver. As the cliché goes, it provides exactly what it says on the cover, plus a list of very helpful tips. Written by Keith Boanas, a vastly experienced coach (who, I should declare, was my FA level two coach educator), it is aimed at new coaches but would also be useful to more experienced ones.
Coaches working with teenagers, and more established players, should welcome How to Coach a Soccer Team by Tony Carr, the esteemed West Ham academy coach (Hamlyn, £12.99) who brought on Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and many others. This progresses from warm-ups and skills to team play and tactical problem-solving. That both these titles use the word "soccer" is indicative for the market for coaching books in the US.
Finally, for the keen, computer-literate coach, a subscription to grassrootscoaching.com (£9.99 a month, or £59.99 a year), a highly impressive and innovative site on which coaches can design, and share, their own coaching chalkboards. Failing that, warm, waterproof clothing is always useful – have you looked outdoors recently?