I ran across a new soccer/youth sports blog by a soccer mom who also works for the Albany Times Union (which I read often in college as I went to Rensselaer) Joyce Bassett writes very detailed posts about local youth sporting events as well as more general pieces about issues in youth sports. One category that caught my attention was Yelling.

Interesting stuff – I had heard about Silent Sidelines before, but still think it’s a gimmick. Leagues and coaches should enforce some variant of silent sidelines at every match. Parents – you should not be coaching from the sidelines! Let the coach coach. Kids only get confused when they hear parents telling them to do this and a coach telling them to do that. Even worse is if the coach is happy with how things are going and is saying little (good), parents yelling directions can be a major distraction and problem.

I’ve had matches where my parents got a bit over eager on the sidelines (Soccer Mom included). I happily tell my kids to ignore the sidelines and their parents and to focus on the game. The best moment of this was with my U8 team during a close match. I had told the kids at halftime to ignore the parents and focus on the match since there was a lot of cheering and some coaching from the parent sideline. I’d only yell something out if necessary. Well, during a pause in play, a mom yelled to her daughter ‘Tie Your Cleats!’ to which she immediately responded ‘Coach told me not to listen to you during games’ Laughter ensues. So I yell from the team sideline ‘Tie Your Cleats!’ and she says ‘OK Coach!’ The sidelines erupted in laughter. But the sideline coaching stopped :)

On the flip side – many parents need to understand there is a difference between yelling AT players and yelling so they can hear you. Even when parents aren’t coaching from the sidelines, they make a LOT of noise, which is a great thing. If a player drifts way out of position – during lulls in play I will absolutely yell for them to get back – simply so they can hear me. If I start yelling AT them for not doing what they were supposed to, etc., then I’ve crossed a line that should never be crossed. I try not to talk to my players during active play, only during lulls, so they remain focused on the match at hand. I probably still talk to much…

Anyway – wanted to highlight a new blog I’d found. I look forward to more soccer posts from Jane, especially after reading her opening post – Just Let Them Play. Hats off to the Times Union for hosting her blog! Welcome to the blogroll Jane!