Coaching Corner: Talk

I touched on this in Parts of the Body Needed to Play Soccer, but thought it needed its own post.

When you are on the pitch, or on the side, you should always be talking to your teammates in the action.

Some of you have some the wrong deas about talking.

A teammate pays you a compliment and you yell at him that he’s not better than you? You get mad because you call for the pass, but don’t get passed to? You think that captain and coach are the only ones that should be talking?

To play as a team, you all need to learn to talk. That’s a part of becoming a good soccer player and is important.

We talk to convey info to help each other make better decisions while we are dealing with the ball. If we’re all talking, we can increase a teammate’s options from the 2-3 that she sees to 4-6. You might be calling a pass out, letting them know if they have someone on or have space to turn, or should carry the ball to take space.

We talk to set up patterns or organize on defense.

All of this improves our odds of winning.

Timing matters. If you are open a lot, call for it, but don’t get passed, maybe you need to work on this. The decision window is just before they get the ball, not after.

We also talk to let everyone know that we know we made a mistake. Mistakes happen. If you raise your hand and call “my bad,” then there’s no need for anyone else to.

We also talk to encourage each other, and my land, we shouldn’t be offended when a teammate encourages us. Good ball, good pass, nice trap, good idea, nice move, nice dribble and even good talk, are just some examples. Tell your teammates what they do well and you will get more of it.

Learn to talk to correct, constructively. Instead of, “You should have ran on that pass!” Try, “My bad! I thought you were going to make that run.” That lets them know to make the run next time without badgering them and also showing that you realize you misread their intentions.

Strive for efficiency. Fewer syllables makes for faster processing and decisions. I’m trying to break my habit of saying “you got time” for “time.” One syllable is better than 3. And, see, we all always have something to work on.

When you get the chance to watch elite players and sit close enough to hear some of the talk, pay attention to what they say and when. Listen to our opponents. Play pickup with people and you will also pickup their lingo.

Good talk.


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