Making changes from the sideline

posted in: Coaching tips

The game is underway and already you know your gameplan is not working.

As the team coach, you’re watching from the sideline, feeling a growing sense of frustration.

Despite the team talk and the explanation you thought went so well, the players are either ignoring your instructions or haven’t understood them.

What do you do?

In this circumstances, poor coaches resort to blame and criticism.

The frustration turns into angry orders that are not specific or helpful. “Get your act together” or “Keep your shape” might mean something to the coach. But they are unhelpful to players and can make them more confused.

In this situation, you don’t have many options so you need to choose carefully.

If you are going to try to make changes by calling instructions, be realistic. If the changes are simple enough, you might be able to do it by calling to individual players who can understand and lead the changes.

If it’s too difficult to change from the sidelines, you may need to grit your teeth and wait for half-time.

You may get lucky and a stoppage in play might give you the chance to call two or three players over so you can ask them to lead the changes. Be prepared for this opportunity.

Another more drastic option is to make substitutions, carefully briefing the incoming players on what you want them to do that will help change what’s happening on the pitch.

At some levels of competition, you might have rolling subs – this gives you the chance to brief players going into the game and those coming off for a spell.

Keep a cool head.