Who talks on the pitch?

Communication on the pitch is very important for match day success and judging by the amount of correspondence I’ve had with other soccer coaches, it’s a topic which concerns a lot of you.

Run passing drills that emphasize communicating and to get players other than the natural leaders more involved. Have four to six players form a circle and pass the ball to each other. The player passing the ball calls out the name of the person to receive it; that player then repeats the practice and calls out the name of the next player to receive the ball.

Rotate the circle throughout the drill so that the players have to constantly know where their teammates are at all times.

According to ex Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho its also a problem at the very highest level. He said: “Sometimes people say the team has no leaders, it’s this, it’s that, but what we need is everybody with the same kind of mentality. I like communication and push them to communicate. I give a lot of instruction in training. It’s difficult for me to do the same in matches so I need guys on the pitch to read the game, to understand what we want.”

What to say to your players

Does your teammate have his eyes fixed on the ball? Let him know you’re open by calling out your name. A simple head nod or finger point can be a subtle way to let a teammate know about open space or desired through ball. How many times have you seen a harmless pass turn into a goal-scoring opportunity for the other team? Soccer players don’t have eyes in the back of their head, so make sure you alert them of oncoming pressure.

Here are six ideas to get your players talking in the new season:

Start by getting to know all your players and finding out what each one of them does outside the game. When Phil Neville took over the England women’s national team he made some great points, find out in Get to know your team as boys and girls.

Team preparation is one area that teams of all levels must work on. In Team preparation key to Guardiola success you can find out how the top coaches prepare their teams for a winning start to the season.

Communication is the key to working as a team – a collapse in communication leads to a breakdown on the pitch. A simple move like Score from crosses looks easy but it is a great way to get players talking and combining in attacking areas. In the Sweeper game, a conductor gives instructions – if you’re not listening your team will lose. And it helps teamwork if you get your players get used to giving Info on the pass as a tactical skill.

To help younger players become more aware of their team mates, the walking game Robocops is great fun and gets youngsters talking to each other.

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