Soccer is a Player Driven Sport.

"I had a coach who yelled and screamed at me constantly. If I made a decision he didn't agree with, he would yell at me. He would even try to tell me what to do with ball before I even received it.It's difficult to make a decision and carry it successfully when someone is second guessing you and giving conflicting instructions to the decision you have made. I would be preparing to play based on my decision or actually have the ball at my feet then hear him yelling for me to do something completely different. It broke my train of though. It confused my mind and therefore my body and more often than not led to a turnover that he blamed on me. It drained my confidence and made me second guess my decision-making. It made me a slower player, a worse player."


The above is a quote from a player who was obviously frustrated with a coach yelling at him. "Michael" came to me after a high school game with watery eyes and ready to walk away from soccer. His coaches routinely yelled or shouted at him.  They were what I call "joy stick" coaches - they would have preferred to have joy sticks to control player decision making and actions on the field.  This is such am American approach to coaching soccer.

Most sports played here in the United States are coach driven. That is, the coaches make a vast majority of the decisions that influence the outcome of the game.  In American football, the coaches call the plays, call timeouts and make all major decisions for the players.  In basketball, the coaches call out plays and defenses, they call timeouts and otherwise dominate the game.  In baseball, coaches call the pitches from the dugout, the defensive coverages from the dugout, hit and runs or squeeze bunts, intentional walks  - all coaching decisions..

In soccer, there are no timeouts.  The pitch is typically 120 yards long by 70 yards wide with players spread out.  Coach to player communication in-game is limited... to yelling or shouting.  It should be limited to silent observation in-game, clear / concise player led communication at half and post game.  Then coach led communication in training.

A successful soccer match is player driven. 

A favorite mantra among soccer coaches is The game is the best teacher.

Practice what you preach coach!  Allow the game to be the voice the players hear. Mistakes will happen and players will learn from the mistakes they make. We favor experience but not the mistakes that provide the lessons to gain experience.  When it comes to in-the-game soccer coaching, Silence really is Golden.

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