The promotion of creativity in team ball sports has captured the interest of many researchers and practitioners, but no studies have explored how coaches perceive and apply creativity-nurturing activities. The purpose of this study was to examine the personal and cultural conditions that enable or obstruct the design and application of creativity exercises (CE) to facilitate elite youth soccer players’ exploration of novel action potentials during soccer training. This examination was conducted in an action research (AR) process where a researcher and a soccer coach applied a selection of creativity concepts as tools to experiment with when designing new CEs. The data comprised audio recordings of design meetings and video observations of practice experiments during AR cycles. Further, the researcher used freewriting to reflect on the process and the coach participated in a semi-structured interview. Thematic analysis showed that facilitation of creativity was envisioned to foster curios, sovereign, de-robotized, playful, and process-oriented players with unique trademarks. However, many ideas were rejected due to beliefs about quality coaching, demands for transferable situations and solutions, and the coach’s conception of creativity. While some ideas were incompatible with established practice, others were rejected since they were perceived to involve unrealistic situations and match-irrelevant solutions. Moreover, the soccer-specific curriculum and match preparation in a tight tournament program left little time to diverge, and the pressure to perform intensified the demand for quality coaching when facing bad results. Avenues for future research are outlined by discussing conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political tensions in the results. Lay summary: This study identifies several potentials for conducting creativity exercises during which the players solve novel challenges and explore solutions they do not usually try during training. However, result orientation and traditional views of quality coaching may limit what is seen as appropriate and therefore limit the exploitations of these potentials.Implications for practice Portrays several creativity exercises and outlines principles for designing new ones. Provides resources to interrogate own and others’ beliefs about creativity and its development. Offers key arguments and considerations for coaches who wish to promote creativity.