An extract from Peter Prickett's latest book Soccer's Principles of Play. In this part of the book Peter explores positive and negative transition and counter attacking and counter pressing as principles of play MORE
WEEKLY DEBATE Should You Raise Your Voice To Raise The Standard?
THIS WEEK’S DEBATE: Good coaching relies on ensuring instructions are thought out and well delivered, but does that mean we should raise our voices? Is shouting at players a necessary part of youth soccer, just as it is the professional game?
YES, IT’S OKAY TO SHOUT
“Kids are used to being shouted at. It’s not because they’re misbehaving, but because young minds wander. They’re less offended about the idea of being shouted at than adults are”
I love the notion of a serene training situation where laughter and birdsong fills the air, but I’m afraid the reality for coaches such as myself is very different. We share training pitches with three other sides and have a busy railway line on one side of the pitch. If I only ever speak instructions to players then to be heard they’d all need to be within 20 yards of me.
I’ve explained this to other coaches and no-one has yet come back to me with a solution for getting instructions and ideas across to players other than by shouting!
The whole issue really depends on what is being shouted. There’s a clear difference between hollering coaching instructions and chastising a player for not having his boot laces done up properly. Now I’m fully aware that some coaches cross the line in the way they push their players, but I do need to distinguish between the two.
I do wonder too why teaching players soccer should be any different to teaching kids in school. Why is it okay for kids to be shouted at in school, if that’s the best proven method of getting their attention, yet it isn’t in a larger outdoor space such as the soccer field?
Like it or not, kids are used to being shouted at. It’s not because they’re misbehaving, but simply because young minds wander and you need to grab their attention quickly. They’re used to having voices raised towards them and are much less offended about the idea of being shouted at than adults are.”
NO, IT’S NOT OKAY TO SHOUT
“I’ve always been of the mind that clever coaching is not in the volume of the delivery, but the frequency of the delivery… and of course, the quality of the instructions”
“Shouting shows a lack of self control, in any situation, be that on the soccer pitch, in the classroom or at home. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the best coaches in my league are all ‘silent assassins’ – you hardly know they are there, especially during matches, because they go about their work with quiet efficiency.
Players take as much notice of a coach who shouts as they do a coach who speaks instructions. I’ve always been of the mind that clever coaching is not in the volume of the delivery, but the frequency of the delivery… and of course, the quality of the instructions.
Kids replicate actions – if you shout at them, they will begin, after a while, to shout back!
Is there anything a child can do on a soccer pitch that should result in them being shouted at? If someone is being shouted at for misbehaviour then the coach should instead exercise a measured and calm removal of that player from the situation. There should be no commotion.
If shouting is to pass on instructions, then the coach needs to refine how he teaches children. A good coach should always be on top of the situation and not so far away that shouting is deemed necessary.
Players should be allowed to make their own decisions (and mistakes) in any playing situation without additional instructions being shouted. Coaching should only ever be done when the action has stopped, not during it.”