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When the parents shout tactics…

Parents shouting from the touchline is one of the downsides of being a coach in the grassroots game. I like to think I have educated the parents of my players so that they only shout encouraging things and respect the opposition players and parents. But sometimes they too shout things that are not helpful to the team on match days.

This week one dad decided that because we had not scored from three corners in the first half of the match the players were not working hard enough.

“MOVE! MOVE! LOSE YOUR MARKER!” came the call from the other side of the pitch.

He took it upon himself to try and get all our players to move and run round and round before the kick was taken. By the time the corner taker had kicked the ball the players had tried every means to lose their marker and had run out of ideas!

Play like Pep

Interestingly I read an interview with Pep Guardiola a couple of years ago when he was in charge at Bayern Munich and he spoke about Mario Gotze scoring a goal from a corner. Guardiola pointed out that Gotze hadn’t moved until the ball was kicked then a quick acceleration created the space he needed to slot the ball home.

He explained that for the 10 seconds or so that the corner taker had run up to the ball Gotze was motionless lulling the defender into thinking he had control of the situation. Then quick movement taking just a couple of seconds and the space opened up.

Worked on corners

Impressed by this we had worked a couple of routines where some players waited until the last seconds to move in the area to try and create space. Obviously this takes time to practice and to put into action and will not always go to plan – timing is all about repetition of the action and awareness of space in a crowded penalty area.

So you can imagine I was non too pleased when the shouting out began. When you are a young player it is often difficult not to respond to the shouting from the touchline. If the players hears it he will likely respond to what is being shouted at him.

Educate the parents

This simple fact is why it is important to educate your players’ parents so they are not shouting out specific instructions from the sidelines, rather encouraging them and praising them. My shouting parent on the touchline however disagreed with me – he reckoned rather than being specific he was just shouting encouragement. I did concede that I hadn’t explained to him about what we had been working on and should have told him.

I reckon we came out of that discussion all square at one-all!

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