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FOOTBALL COMMUNICATION

One of the most important, if not the most important aspects

on the field of play is great communication in football.

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Good communication is vital if a team is to be successful.

Players need to communicate effectively with each other to

play well as a team. If you listen to the players playing in a

top flight match, one thing you will notice is the amount of

talking between the players, not only the instructional

communication but also the level of encouragement

offered between the players.

Communication not only means talking to each other,

but non-verbal communication also plays an important

part. Directing team-mates using hand signals and other

gestures both with and without the ball is very important.

Verbal and non-verbal communication used together can

be as effective as a well-placed pass, shot or tackle.

Playing football without talking limits the effectiveness

of the team and makes winning the game doubly hard.

We all see players who are gifted with the ball, but

sometimes let themselves down with their communication,

failing to show their team-mates what their intention is

with the ball but also what they expect from them.

What is worse, it is sometimes these very same players

who because of their own ability expect the same level

of play from the weaker players in the team, and when

the ball goes astray they get frustrated and call out

negatively to their team-mate. This is an example of

how important positive chat is on the pitch, because

negative communication not only gives out the wrong

signals but also demotivates the other players.

It can also send a message to the opposition and giving

them self-belief that telling them that the opposition cannot

play together.

Some young players can suffer from low confidence and this

manifests itself in their ability to talk on the pitch.

It is important for the football coach to identify this as early

as possible and encourage the player to use their voice.

If you have a player who lacks confidence, when it comes

to instructing team-mates, you need to give them encouragement

to improve their footballing self-esteem by doing drills

focussed on talking. This may not come naturally to some

players, though over time and with practice this can be

improved and cured completely. For these players it is

also very important for their team-mates to take a responsibility

and encourage them to use verbal communication as much

as possible. Football is a team game.

The many aspects of communication can be broken

down in the different phases of play, both in defending

and attacking. Players need to understand positions

and the tactics required for the various phases, and

the need to talk to each other, both for where the player

should be in any given situation and where the ball should

be or is expected to be.

Communication is the responsibility of every player, not

just the captain or the GOALKEEPER everyone has to

communicate as if they are the leader on the pitch.

Each player has a position and an area they are

responsible for, and in that area they should play

like a captain and communicate accordingly, calling players

into their area as needed and advising them what they

expect of them in their area. In that zone they also need

to take advice from other players who are perhaps better

able to see a situation developing from afar.

Players need to indicate to each other where they

expect their team-mates to be in any given situation,

where the ball will be directed to and they should also

be able to take instruction from any other member

of the team, regardless of their perceived level in

the team’s hierarchy.

It does not matter what the words used are, they

may be the conventional calls associated with the ball,

space on the field or the opponent, though the words

used can be anything, as long as the whole team

understands the code in use.

Young players need to focus on the team, and must

understand that the best players and most successful

teams have a habit of communicating well. In doing so

players need to follow these simple rules:

  • Don’t be afraid to instruct and advised your team-mates on what you expect from them.

  • Be responsive to instruction given.

  • Don’t openly criticise your team-mates and encourage whenever possible.

The ultimate goal is to be able to watch a junior

match without hearing the coach or a parent shouting

and screaming instructions at a player, and for all player’s

to equally give and take important instructions and

advice from each other.

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