A friend of mine recently attended a coaching class where they handed out a list of ‘Dead Words’ for coaches to share with their parents. The idea is you ask your parents not to say certain words in an attempt to stop them from sideline coaching or distracting the players too much. It’s an interesting idea.

The list was written by Ken Hays, though I’m not sure if this is the same Ken Hays that is this year’s USYSA Region III Girls Rec Coach of the Year

Here are the so called ‘Dead Words’ and some examples. I think the examples are what make the list useful:

Attack Attack the ball!
Beat You can beat the player!
Blind Ref, are you blind?
Close Come on! Close the gap!
Cross Hurry, cross the ball!
Cut Cut right! Cut left!
Defend Defend the forward!
Dribble Dribble! Dribble down the field!
Drop Drop back!
Fight Fight for the ball!
Finish Finish!
Force Force the turn-over!
Hit Hit your forward, he’s open!
Hold Don’t let him get past, hold his jersey!
Hurt Get up, you’re not hurt! Play!
Jump Jump on side!
Kick Kick it!
Open Your wing is open!
Pass Pass to the middle!
Pressure Pressure the ball!
Referee/Ref What kind of call was that, Ref?
Run What are you doing? Run!
Shift Shift up! Shift back! Shift left! Shift right!
Shoot Shoot! Shoot the ball!
Slide Slide to the outside!
Tackle Tackle him!
Take Take him out!
Talk Talk to your teammates!
Think What are you doing? Think!
Throw Throw the ball into the defender!
Wait Wait for the pass!

I thought there was one glaring omission: Ball. That would take care of a lot of the more annoying things that parents can shout out during a match.

As a coach, I don’t know if I’d send this out to my parents or not. I think it could rub some people the wrong way and do more harm than good. We all want a parent sideline that encourages the kids without distracting them, but if you just hand this list out, you might generate some resentment from your parents because you’re treating them like kids.

Instead, I’d use the list as a basis for an honest discussion with  your parents about the proper things to say on a sideline. Use it as PART of a discussion. But I certainly would not recommend just handing it out. One of our coaches did and, well, the reaction was not what he expected!