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The Soccer Sidelines

131 EpisodesProduced by David DejewskiWebsite

Join Coach Dave on the sidelines as he brings you in on what’s going on behind the scenes and the stuff that really matters in youth sports. Understand the game, development, and ways you can support your young athlete at home!


#36 – Bad Sideline Behavior

A National EpidemicWhat I'm about to share with you is a problem of National consequence. I'm not exaggerating! Producing this podcast, acting as Club President, and coaching, I tend to be reaching out and connecting with a lot of people. I'm hearing the same story from all corners of my world. Bad sideline behavior is a having a crushing effect on youth sports! What is Bad Sideline Behavior?Bad sideline behavior is typically rooted in good intention, fueled by emotion, unsupported by education, and has a negative impact on the development environment we're trying to deliberately create. Rooted in good intention: I don't think any parent or coach wakes up on the morning of a game and sets out to ruin the game environment. They might wake up with a mixture of excitement and/or anxiety. They want the kids to do well. They hope for a positive outcome. Fueled by emotion: it's not rational for a fully grown adult to open their mouth as wide as it will go, to spray spit on the grass and spectators in front of them, and scream "KNOCK HIM DOWN!" at the top of their lungs - as if anything less will result in a gory death of a loved one on the battlefield. Yet, we find fully grown adults doing this every single season. Unsupported by education: For me, adults who exhibit bad sideline behavior have a big red strobe beacon flashing over their head with a siren that screams "I'm not educated!," "I don't know why we're here!," and "No-one ever taught me how to properly support my kid!!" It's like walking into a fine dining restaurant wearing flip flops and no t-shirt. A part of me feels embarrassed for them and really wants to help, but I realize that in the heat of the moment, there aren't a lot of brain cells functioning right then. If I address an issue in the moment, I have to speak to the amygdala. The rational person inside is still at home - hopefully listening to this podcast!It has a negative impact: We typically talk about negative impact in terms of what it does to the kids. There is no doubt in my mind that negative sideline behavior affects kids is really bad ways:It slows down kid's thinking. Kids make an average of 2 decisions per second in a game. When they have to process instructions or criticism from the sidelines, they literally slow down. It teaches kids that their environment is not a safe one to make mistakes inIt makes kids overly critical of their own and other's performancethumbs-downIt gives kids negative examples to follow (they will end up doing the same thing to their own kids)thumbs-downIt sucks fun from the game like a black hole sucking planets form the cosmosthumbs-downIt teaches kids it's okay to bullythumbs-downIt overwhelms kid's experience - forcing them to pay attention to yelling and screaming vs one another and having fun with friendsthumbs-downI could go on!!It could be argued that even if you don't give a hoot about developing kids and you're focused entirely on winning games (not something that we promote at The Soccer Sidelines), that the following sideline behaviors are not helpful. They are distracting to players, detracting from their ability to play the game, and ultimately have the opposite effect from the way they were intended. From CoachesJoystickingBeing a bullyCheatingcheckYelling at or being critical of officialscheckMaking the game about the coachcheckNot being supportivecheckUsing foul or inappropriate language or body languagecheck Allowing parents to coach the kids from the other sideFrom ParentsYelling InstructionsYelling at other kidsWaiving arms and pacing up and down the sidelinescheckYelling at or being critical of officialscheckUsing foul or inappropriate language and/or body languagecheckApproaching playerscheckSitting on the wrong side of the fieldcheckTalking with kids after the game and criticizing coaches, officials, and/or other players Bad Behavior Further DefinedCoaches Joysticking: Joystick coaches, it is said, imagine themselves as master manipulators of their te...

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