How To Deal With Rough Play

As players get older and matches get more intense, rough play is something you have to deal with and work with your team to handle. No amount of yelling at the referee is going to change things if they’ve lost control. So you have to prepare your teams to deal with it and also prepare yourself for an extremely difficult decision should it come to that. ZenMaster has an excellent article with tips and ideas over at ZenFooty. Here’s a snippet:

Games get out of control physically for a number of reasons. Among them are slow play, poor game management by your captain and coach, loss of control by the referee, and lack of personal skills in warding off dirty defenders.

Let me first say that the issue of dirty and abusive play does not start with the referee or the players, it begins with coaching. The tolerance level of the coach has a direct bearing on the ethics of players. The best coaches will reprimand their own players for foul play. I have seen good coaches pull their own players even before the referee takes action.

Emphasis mine. Read the whole thing – excellent stuff.

Leave a Reply

  1. Nice find, Mike. My son’s game this weekend was extremely physical. It was obvious that the other team’s coach had told his boys to test the limits of what the referee would call. Unfortunately, the ref called very little and the game deteriorated accordingly. Given the number of kung-fu style high kicks I saw (from both teams), it was a wonder that the players came away with all their teeth.

    The observation about the influence of the coach is spot-on. However, if such a coach is having success, how many clubs (and parents) do you think would favor getting rid of him?

  2. Thansk Mike good article. What do you do when your LunaChicks are getting pushed around, the ref is asleep and one of your parents starts to get on the ref, the fouling other team or its coach?

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with this find. As a soccer and basketball coach AND as a referee, I could not have stated it better myself. As a ref, I have noticed that sometimes “letting them play” will likely lead to rough/dangerous play and I have to nip it in the bud before it can get to that point. As a coach, I will not tolerate any of my players pushing the limits to “see what they can get away with” as that can only get to the point where someone is getting hurt.

  4. Funny to see that the problem in the field is mostly caused by factors outside the field… :) Same here in the Netherlands. There are a lot of good coaches here, dads who like to see their kids have fun, but sometimes it’s all over the top.. Pushing the little boys and girls as if they are pros…
    Well I have two sons who play soccer, and never missed a game, and most games are documented with pictures… just have a look at my site…
    Your site is great…


  5. Update after Julian Brown: Saw a player dive. Ref bought the dive, awarded a direct kick (just outside the box). Coach loudly reprimanded his player for diving. However, he wasn’t upset enough about it to turn the goal that was scored on the subsequent free kick.

    Turned out to be the only goal of the game, and therefore the winning one.

  6. I always tell my players to never pay attention to the ref that it is best to focus on us and what we need to work on. It is hard but if you get them to focus on themselves they will work hard in the game rather that what the ref is saying.