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Soccer Drills Coach Or Critic Which One Are You?


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An interesting thing happened over the weekend. As is usually the case I refereed a number of games. A couple of junior games and a couple of senior games. Nothing really out of the ordinary. Now I have also coached junior soccer teams for a number of years. It really stood out to me over the weekend that there are two distinctly different kinds of coaches. There is the coach, and there is the critic. The very interesting thing was the difference in performance of the teams involved. So, are you a coach or a critic, and what are the things that differentiate the two types of coaches?

The first thing that I would identify is your tone of voice.  Obviously one of the roles that a coach must perform is to correct players that make mistakes. How do you do this? The coaches on the weekend corrected their players in a level and controlled tone of voice. They treated their players with respect, and their players understood that their coach respected them and was trying to help them improve their game. The coach also appreciated that the players was doing their best and that unfortunately everyone can make a mistake. On the other hand the critic yelled, with little sign of control.  As a result the players tended to become nervous, in anticipation that next time they made a mistake they were going to get yelled at. So the distinction here is that players in a team with a coach are going to improve, while players in a team with a critic are going to be scared of making a mistake, and a number of players in the team also felt the need to criticise their team mates performances. Hardly good for team harmony.

How do you treat the referee? Being a referee I understand that coaches know that the referee is the blind individual in the middle of the park who has absolutely no idea what is going on around him. If this is your belief, do your players a favour and keep it to yourself. In one of the games that I was an Assistant Referee on the weekend the coach of one team became openly aggressive ( I could use the word abusive ) towards the referee. He could not then understand how two of his players could be booked ( and one sent off ) for copying his behaviour. In another game the coach would yell out every time he thought his team should have been awarded a free kick. And on a number of occasions his players stopped playing the game to wait for the referee to award the free kick. Whilst the other team played on!

So, which one are you? Coach or critic? The main difference between the coach and the critic is the amount of control they exhibit towards what is going on around them. Are your players not playing to the best of their ability? Is the referee giving you a raw deal? Be a coach. Remain in control. Do not yell. Tell your players to play to the whistle and not the sound of your voice. Respect the fact that your players will make mistakes from time to time and encourage them to improve. These rules apply to training time and game time.

Stephen is a soccer addict. I have played for many years and still do, currently referee and have coached many junior teams. Please visit my blog for more info on soccer drills for young players. Visit me at


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