UpdatedMonday August 21, 2017 byPOB Soccer.


What would you consider over coaching? Most would probably agree that a coach yelling and screaming on the sidelines the entire game and constantly directing players like robots would qualify. That could be true depending on what they’re yelling and who it’s directed at.

 Where does this habit come from and how did we reach this point?

 From another perspective, what if your boss came in around every five minutes or so and yelled instructions at you? I’m pretty sure you’d be looking for another job. After all, he or she hired you with confidence and trust that you could do the job.

 All you have to do is watch a game and see coaches patrolling the sidelines and barking continuously. The fans have come to expect it, and when a coach remains calm, they don’t think he or she is doing their job. It’s one of the models young coaches see and build their demeanor from. The thought is that it’s expected. But is it?

 Let’s face it, there will be times when you have to yell or shout instructions because of the crowd noise, or at times to make your point. But all the time? Coaches from their very DNA feel the need to be in control, and there’s nothing wrong with that until it becomes an obsession.

 Can you control your team without being a screamer and yeller? I think so.

 How can you look at your demeanor on the sidelines in a different light?

Consider these thoughts:

  • Often players can’t hear what you’re yelling.
  • If they’re paying attention to you, how can they focus on the game?
  • Did you prepare the players in practice?
  • Do they know when they've made a mistake?
  • Will yelling help the players’ composure when they need it most?
  • How would you feel if your AD yelled at you in front of the fans?
  • Do you trust your players? At point will you trust them?
  • Is the yelling for you or your players?
  • Will there be a better time to correct the problem?
  • Does yelling at them really make them tougher?
  • Are you making them dependent on everything you say? What are you creating for the time you’re not at the game?

Is there a way to break the cycle? What steps could you take to start trusting your players’ decisions during a game?

  • Simply refrain from saying everything that comes to mind, especially in low pressure moments for the players.
  • Work in increments of time. Be silent for a number of minutes, and build up to more time each game when possible.
  • Make notes on your phone of what changes or adjustments need to be made or talked about during a timeout or halftime and wait.
  • Take a deep breath during a challenging time and give the player a chance to make the decision. Encourage them in a positive tone to stay focused.
  • When a mistake is made, keep a calm demeanor. You’ll have time to talk to the player when you take them out, a time out, or halftime.
  • Think about what you’re yelling. Is it something you should have worked on in practice, something totally new or not even that important?
  • Be clear on instructions before the game and when you put a new player in the game.
  • Have one of your assistants remind you discretely when you return to yelling every instruction.
  • Remind yourself that being quiet at times is for the benefit and growth of your players.

This will take some practice for coaches who’ve adopted this style and feel the need to continue. Keep in mind you can still patrol the sidelines with intensity. This isn’t about taking power away from the coach, it’s about freeing your players up to make the decisions you want by being able to do it on their own. By trusting your players, they’ll be able to impact games in a positive way, and you’ll be happily surprised at some of the great decisions they make on their own.

Watch Coach Krzyzewski of Duke during a game. Love him or hate him and his program, Coach K remains seated most of the game. During time outs he’s as vocal and fiery as any coach you’ll see, and if there’s any doubt if that style works, just check out the program’s success in his career.

Prepare your team the best you can in practice, and give them the power to make tough decisions during the game. It’ll pay big dividends in key moments when they can’t hear you.