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
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.