Communication Do's and Don'ts for Youth Soccer Players at Any Level
Communication is vital anywhere, but especially on a soccer field.
Here are several important communication do’s and don’ts for any soccer player at any level.
1. DO give your teammates helpful information
It sounds like common knowledge, but if you can provide more direction, do it.
Say something along the lines of, “Step up! Keep him to the right!”
2. DON’T blurt out random instructions in hopes that your teammates will figure out what you want them to do
For example if you just say, “Step!” instead of being more clear of your instructions. When you can give your teammates more information, it helps the entire team.
If you tell them to step and keep the player to the right, your team can shift and get into position and know the game plan. Whereas if you just say, "step!" your teammate might step up, but which way should he be forcing his defender?
If you leave it up to your teammate to decide as he is stepping, your whole team will be slower to shift and that allows a breakdown that the opposition can and will find.
When you give more directions, there will be less confusion and more success.
3. DO be critical, but be helpful
Usually a teammate already knows when they’ve made a mistake, they don’t need you to tell them.
What they could benefit from is constructive criticism. “Hey when you lost that ball back there, fouling the player from behind isn’t the way to solve it. Sprint back, get in front of him, slow him down and let the rest of the defense recover as well.”
4. DON’T antagonize your teammate
Making a sarcastic comment such as, “way to go, you lost us the game!” isn’t the way to let your teammate know they didn’t play well.
You are already fighting the opposition, so you need to stick together and work towards the common goal: winning.
5. DO listen to what your coaches and/or captains are telling you
Coaches will usually appoint a few players they want to be the voices of the team. It’s important to listen to what the coaches and these players say, even if you don’t always agree.
You have to trust that they have the best interest of the team. It’s difficult sometimes because what they say might not always lead to the best outcome but you have to trust that they will see the failure and make a change so it doesn’t happen again.
6. DON’T argue with what someone tells you to do
On the field is no place to argue and if an argument does happen it can lead to critical mistakes. Arguing wastes time and lets the other team know that they are already mentally winning.
In my experiences, teams with better communication skills are generally more successful. Be a team that picks each other up and helps teammates out instead of being the team that is negative and essentially defeats themselves.