If you are unsure what to do at half time follow these tips so your team is organised before they go out for the second half.
1. Prepare notes
As with everything in youth soccer, preparation is key, so during the first half you should be making mental or written notes of what you want to say during the interval. Your half-time comments should always be 90% positive so – regardless of the match situation – the focus should be about what the team is doing well rather than what they are doing not so well.
2. Pick your location
For the talk itself, find somewhere sheltered and out of earshot of the opposition and the players’ parents. Make sure everyone has a drink and get them sat down (if the ground is not wet) facing you, checking there are no distractions behind you.
3. Assess for injuries
Once your players are settled, the first thing to do is to check for injuries. Is everyone okay?
4. Offer praise
Next, it’s time for some ‘well dones’, but be truthful. Your players will know if you are giving them false praise. And if you are going to pick out individuals make sure you mention everyone, not just your star players! If you feel you can correct any simple errors with a short comment then do so. But don’t try to introduce any new concepts or embark on a lengthy lecture. Avoid asking for players’ opinions. Most likely, all you’ll get is a time wasting chorus of comments and complaints. And never forget you are a role model for your players, so don’t criticise the match officials at half-time (or at any other time for that matter), even if those in charge have made a mistake that has cost you a goal!
5. Confirm the team
Now it’s time to announce the starting line-up for the second half. If you’re not sure which players to take off then don’t make any changes until the second half is a few minutes old. But if you do that, ensure your subs know they are going to get on soon.
6. Send them out inspired
Finally, speak some more words of encouragement and send your team out for the second half, ensuring you count the players on the field before the whistle goes. I’ve often accidentally tried to start with one player more than the rules allow!