Sideline Etiquette

We have all heard parents on the sideline at soccer matches yelling “Shoot it!”, “Pass it!”, “Tackle Him” Maybe you have done that in the past. It’s only natural to want to help your player on the pitch. However shouting instructions does not actually help the player develop and learn. These directions can cause apprehension and indecision for a player already under pressure on the field.

Yelling instructions from the sideline leads to players being distracted in the game and in some case they do not learn to make their own decisions and will stop and wait to be told what to do which is not what we want our players to do.

Instead of yelling instruction stick to basic encouragement and cheering. Find out what your child is working on mastering a specific move during training, or building confidence in using their left foot? If you see them do that in a game let them know you saw them try it.

In addition what you are yelling may directly contradict what their coaches have been working on with them or what they have instructed the player to do in the match.

Even as coaches we try not to give players specific instructions during the game, they must make their own mistakes and learn from them. We will give instruction and evaluation when they come off the field while things are fresh in their mind, at half time and at the end of the game.

Many times the players can’t hear what you are saying anyway and the noise is is simply a distraction. Less noise means the players can focus more and communicate with each other.

The more vocal you are does not mean you are a more supportive parent and if you just sit back and watch and say nothing does not make you any less supportive.


Cheer and give positive feedback when you see your player doing any of the things they have been working on in practices.

Cheer for great tackles, shots on goal, goals,passes.
Cheer for both teams and show good sportsmanship.
Give positive feedback after the action has happened not before.

Please Do Not …. Shout specific instructions or actions to your player such as

Boot it
Get rid of it
Send It
Shoot it
Take him on
Get him, tackle him
Get back, move forward

Please Do Not …. Yell or shout at the referee.

Please Do Not …. Question a call the referee has made this teaches your young player that it is acceptable to question the referee and show disrespect. The referee is not going to change his or her decision because you didn’t like it on the sideline.

We really need to teach our young players to accept the referees decision whether they feel it is right or wrong and continue to play the game. Throughout the course of a season the team will receive some calls that may have been wrong and go against your team and some that go in your favour.


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