EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

10 tips for match day manners

Footy4Kids guru Steve Watson has created 10 tips for match day etiquette – tips that will help you to look like a ‘proper’ coach instead of a dodgy character in a tracksuit who can’t stop shouting nonsense at other people’s children.

Good behaviour on match day

Well behaved parents make match days much more fun

1. Remember that the opposition are a bunch of kids, like yours, not the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan. Be nice, say hello to them and ask how they are.

2. Shake hands with the opposition coach before and, regardless of the result, after the game. It’s irrelevant what you think of him or her. Like you, they are giving up their spare time so that children can play soccer. If nothing else, respect them for that.

3. Do not try to control your players movements. Leave the decisions to them and if they make a mistake, so what? It’s a learning opportunity, not the end of the world. Let your players express themselves on the pitch.

4. Coaches who keep shouting ‘PASS!!!’ or ‘SHOOT!!!’ or ‘GET STUCK IN!!!’ need to have their mouths zipped up. How would you feel if someone was trying to tell you what to do all the time? Make sure your parents understand this too.

5. Don’t keep shouting a players’ name. It’s embarrassing for the child and can sound as though you’re picking on them.

6. Don’t pace up and down the touchline, chewing your clipboard. It looks ridiculous and if you keep walking in front of the opposition coach and his subs, don’t be surprised if a little foot sticks out out and trips you up.

7. Touchline comments should be confined to encouragement. Say ‘well done’, ‘nice pass’ or ‘great tackle’, etc. Praise good work by BOTH teams.

8. NEVER shout at a match official. They are volunteers, just like you, and they’re doing a difficult job. If you think the ref made a bad call, keep it to your self and if he or she makes a call in favour of your team, don’t shout ‘good call ref!’. That’s just plain boorish.

9. You don’t need to tell your players that they should try to win the game. Doh.

10. No game is ‘vitally important’. When Duane Thomas, ex-NFL Rookie of the Year, was asked how he felt about playing in the “most important game of the year”, the Super Bowl, he replied: “If it’s so important why are they going to play it again next year?” If you do all of these you’re going to look like a ‘proper’ coach. And that really would be a good result.

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