Silent Sideline Weekend: October 04 & 05th 2014

Sep 28, 14 Silent Sideline Weekend: October 04 & 05th 2014

Very often in kid’s sports adults, parents and coaches become overly vocal in their approach to working with young athletes. However well intentioned some of them may be, the results are not always positive. With a Silent Sideline Weekend, the coaches, parents and spectators are asked to keep talking to a bare minimum on the sidelines. One coach from each team will be given the task to instruct (not during the game), whilst everyone else watches on in SILENCE.

Supporters are allowed to clap to show their enthusiasm but the adults are restricted from coaching their kids from the sideline. This is a weekend when kids can make decisions for themselves, without having adults shout 5/6 different instructions at them.

We now know that when adults scream from the sidelines they’re not just invading the children’s play time, they’re preventing children from learning the game in a natural manner.

With the sidelines quiet, players have the chance to concentrate, make their own split-second decisions and learn by them. Instead of being distracted by the stream of noise that usually exists, the kids on the pitch get the opportunity to communicate with one another, deciding who will take the throw ins, the goal-kicks, free-kicks and/or the corner kicks in the game. This also gives them time to think and focus on what they are about to do.

The teeny tiny kids may need a little direction but you must try and let them figure it out for themselves before stepping in. Remember it’s only one game over one weekend.


The focus of the weekend is not to take the atmosphere out of the kids’ game but instead try and encourage less coaching from the line. It’s about educating adults that screaming at children whilst they play sport is wrong.

The aim is to eventually get every youth club in Ireland and around the world in every team sport to conform to the ‘Silent sideline weekend.’

Initially not everyone is going to agree with the idea, but one thing is for sure the kids absolutely loved the last one and they weren’t the only ones!! The referees always appreciated the chance to be able to concentrate on the game instead of the sideline.

What’s Expected from Participants?

  • A day when we, Let the kids play.
  • Everyone can get involved.
  • If the opposition aren’t willing to participate, no don’t worry you can learn so much from observing them.
  • Clubs to manage this initiative internally.
  • Club should select 2 sideline keepers to reinforce a positive and silent attitude on the line.
  • Each club should have a silent sideline ambassador.
  • Absolutely NO shouting or directing from the sidelines.
  • Coaching staff to speak to players at halftime and when making changes ONLY (Only when absolutely necessary).
  • Clapping & cheering allowed for goals scored and effort from both sides.
  • No directing or coaching advice from adults at anytime.
  • Absolutely no questioning of the referee in charge of game. (If required call official over).
  • Rope the pitches and provide a designated area for parents. (Stand back, observe and enjoy the game).
  • Kids voices are all we want to hear on match day.
  • Lollipops are a fun way of helping people to stay silent!

Going forward we need less coaching and directing from the line. Encourage, Praise, Clap and Cheer. It’s really important that we allow the kids to take control of their game. I see it all the time, where parents/coaches go over the entire game and point out the child’s mistakes. Not even adults like to hear about the things they did wrong and children are no different.

Kids need praise not criticism. Providing feedback on what he/she did wrong or expressing your disappointment in their play is NOT what they need to hear and will only serve to make a painful situation much worse. Support and encouragement does NOT mean that you coach from the sidelines. In fact, the WORST THING that you can do as a parent/coach is to continually “give instruction” from the sidelines.

Date for your diary: 

  1. 04 & 05th Silent Sideline Weekend
  2. 29th September Silent Sideline Workshop, (Supported by Fingal City Council)

Sign Up for the Silent Sideline Workshop

Sign Up for Silent Sideline Weekend

Supported by: Fingal County Council



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As always, thanks for reading. I’m also on twitter  @Coachdiary

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