9 Tips to On-field Communication

by Philip MacDonald | Last updated

On-field communication is one of the most important parts aspects of the game of soccer yet it isn’t always stressed within teams.  When the topic of communication is mentioned, hardly ever does the team go into specificity.  Below are some tips that can help with on-field communication in the game of soccer.

Tip #1) Use positive body language: be careful with your body language as this will be viewed by the fans, officials, teammates and your opponents.  If your body language is negative it will be viewed by your opponents and it will give them confidence

Tip #2) Don’t argue with teammates: there will be time throughout the season that you and a teammate will have your differences but never show your frustration on the field.  The opposing team will use this as motivation and your personal disputes will even be mentioned at half-time.  On top of that it simply looks unprofessional in every sense of the word.  

Tip #3) Use positive re-enforcement:  positive re-enforcement has been proven over and over that it works.  When a teammate of yours makes a play it is important to encourage him/her whether they were successful or not.  Team captain John Terry of Chelsea is the leader of his club and one of the most vocal leaders on the field.  You will always see him encourage his teammates throughout the game by clapping them on and pumping them up. 

Tip #4) Let the captain speak to the referee: each player on the field has a responsibility of communicating but the captain’s role is slightly different.  He/she is your leader and must do the encouraging but more importantly speak with the official if the situation arises.   

Tip #5) The goalie should always be communicating to his/her players:  goalie’s need to always be yelling, informing and directing their players on the field at all times.  They can see everything and everyone in front of them.  If you get the chance to attend a professional game live and are seated close enough to the goalie you should be able to hear him/her yelling instructions to the players.  Often times the goalie won’t be quiet.  The importance of the goalie communicating on the field is often forget and/or not emphasized.    

Tip #6) Learn how to talk to people:  some players need hard love, some need encouragement and some need a kick in the behind.  Know who needs to be talked to and find the right way to communicate with them.  Each player responds differently to criticism.  You may have your way of communicating and think that everybody must follow it but unless you’re in the military if you do not find the right way to communicate and “get through” to your teammates then you will never be able to.   

Tip #7) Everyone can’t yell orders: it’s great to have everyone on the field communicating whether it be tactics, encouragement and support but everyone can’t be yelling instructions otherwise players won’t respond because they know who is in charge with the orders.  Also, if the orders are conflicting this will have further complications.  Prior to the game decide who is charge of making those decisions.

Tip #8) communication: verbal vs telepathic: the better you get to understand your teammates the more you will understand one another without even speaking.  However, don’t get comfortable not talking on the field as it’s good to be vocal.  The telepathic communication will come in hand in the smaller details of the game.  Once you build this communication and understanding with your teammates you’ll have another advantage over your competition.  If you fail in your communications it will be embarrassing and have potential major consequences in the field of play.    

Tip 9) Hand signals for corners and free kicks: these signals should always be discussed in training or before a game as you do not want any misunderstanding in game changing situations like this.  However, at times a quick hand signal might make all the difference in communicating with your teammates.  Starting with your one arm up on corners and then putting it down is a simple yet effective way to let your teammates, specifically those making their runs and criss-crosses in the box that you’re about to take the corner.  A quick arm signal can lead to a great deception

Finally, if all eleven players on the field are communicating, shouting instructions to one another and working as a unit then this in itself becomes a form of intimidation.  Your teams’ confidence will grow and this will carry over into your play.  

What sort of on field communication does your team do?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *