Don’t talk!

A soccer coach contacted me concerned that his 11-year-old players were not communicating on the pitch, although they had been playing together for four years.

Very young children are too busy chasing the ball to talk but 11-year-olds should be able to warn their team mates when there’s a “man on” or call for a pass.

You can encourage your players to talk to each other while they’re playing by warming up with games that require them to call for the ball.

The best game I’ve come across for improving communication skills is a small-sided game where talking is banned!

Talk about the importance of good communication with your players then play a “match” where your players are not allowed to speak at all. If anyone does say anything, award a free kick to the other team. After a few minutes, remove the condition and see what happens. They will start talking!

Play this game regularly and pretty soon you’ll see a big improvement in the way they talk to each other during matches.