At your next game, please stop the yelling. I beg of you.
On Sunday I was coaching our boys 2006 team in a 7 on 7 game. The coaches were stationed down the middle of two fields facing their respective fields and teams. So, in a confined area there were 7-8 coaches bellowing at their their instructions at 4 teams.
At one point I simply put my hands up to my ears in an attempt to drown out the babble.
I can honestly say I did not see one of the players enjoying themselves. No smiles, no happy expressions, no rapport or banter.
Instead, stress, overwhelm, fear and worry.
What the hell are we doing?
Isn’t soccer supposed to be a recreational pastime? Doesn’t soccer rank up there with skateboarding, computer games, playing with the dog?
At this age it should, right?
So, why have we turned it into this high pressure cauldron of pulsating forehead veins, aggressive behavior, belittling of 11 year olds?
For all that is good, please just let the players PLAY. Yes, let’s remember that word, PLAY soccer.
Here’s a definition of the word “PLAY”: “engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.”
There it is…. for “ENJOYMENT” and “RECREATION” rather than a “SERIOUS” or practical purpose.
I’ll admit, all through club, school and college soccer, it was very rare that I actually enjoyed playing in games.
I LOVED practice and I LOVED pick up games at the park, on the street, in the back garden.
But put me in a kit and throw me out against the “enemy” and I often shrank into my shell and focused on not making mistakes and not getting hurt.
And that’s what I saw all over the soccer field on Sunday.
So, please coach, at your next game, stop the yelling.
Pick your team, pull up a chair and just enjoy watching your players play. High five them, smile at them, let you know you care.
It’ll be good for them and good for you.
Maybe a good idea to have the parents on board too!