Please, Don’t Scream at the Children




Within the last few weeks, while coaching and refereeing, I observed a couple of very different kinds of youth coaches.

  • One played more than a decade of pro soccer, appeared for the U.S. national team, and runs a successful youth club.
  • The other was a novice to the sport, which I knew not just because he yelled at me to call offside when his goalkeeper’s goal kick was intercepted by the opponent’s forward.yelling-parents

The former pro, he sat on a folding chair the entire game and rarely communicated with the players on the field. The only time he stood up was to high-five players who were subbed out.

The newcomer coach prowled the sidelines and yelled instructions throughout the game. He had an assistant, who yelled almost as much as he did. The other team of 8-year-olds was led by three coaches, who also screamed the entire time.

With parents yelling from the opposite sideline, it became 14 kids on the field having to hear from more than 10 “coaches.” If you listened to audio of this hour at a park on a Saturday morning, you’d never guess the event was supposed to be playtime for children.

To the credit of the league, it has implemented guidelines…

Click to read their guidelines and more.

By Mike Woitalla