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A Team that Talks is a Team that Plays

Venture out to any field on a any given day, close your eyes for a few minutes and just listen. Most likely, you will be able to identify the team that is most vocal. Now, open your eyes and watch the game in front of you. My guess – you will be able to pick out the team you heard with relative ease. Subsequently, that team is probably in control of the game.

I am consistently talking to players about the importance of effective team talk – the power of communication! The passing of information from one player to the next is like “oil to an engine” (as my mentor Graham Ramsay once/often told me).

But just like dribbling, passing, receiving, heading, shooting, etc, understanding how to effectively communicate within a team environment is a skill. A skill that must be developed from an early age. Coaches – do your players big favors – say less and create an environment where you demand that your players supply the answers. Don’t be so eager to fix the problems with your voice….give that responsibility to your players. While youngsters might fail today because of what they didn’t say in a particular instance, use that teaching opportunity to encourage them with the power of effective communication.

As a result, you will help mold and develop leadership qualities in young players…an immensely crucial element relatively absent in so many players who show promise at the youth levels.

As we approach the so-called “try-out season” of youth soccer, evaluators are looking to identify players for their teams. Wouldn’t a player with a voice jump off the page at you? Make it a major focus to nurture the qualities of team talkers within your group. Get them to communicate more and watch the intensity level of any training session/game rise.

Erik Imler

Erik Imler is a coach on the youth, collegiate, and U.S. Youth National level. He was an NCAA Champion (1989, 1991, 1992) and played on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team (Barcelona, Spain). Dissatisfied with the status quo of Youth Soccer development in the United States, he is passionate about making a difference. He was motivated to create a youth program that addresses the most prominent technical deficiencies in many youth players – passing & receiving. In constant search for intelligent and thought provoking soccer conversation, he is eager to connect with others in the community. Learn more about Erik at CantPassCantPlay.com.

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