Campaign Silent Sideline

Silent Sideline Weekend: 04th & 05th October

After the success of the previous SS Weekend, we have decide to arrange another one and will continue from hear on in as a yearly weekend event between September and October each year.

Too 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. Coaches 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. 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 make their own split-second decisions on the pitch 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 or the corner kicks etc. This also gives them time to think and focus on what they are about to do.

Check out the video I made from the weekends in March and April: 

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. I want every youth team in Ireland in organised leagues in every sport to conform to the ‘Silent sideline weekend.’ I know not everyone is going to agree with the idea, but one thing is for sure the kids absolutely loved the last weekend.

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!

What happens after the weekend?

Slide1Going 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. We see it all the time, where parents/coaches go over the entire game and point out the child’s mistakes, to everyone standing on the line. Not even adults like to hear about the things they did wrong.

Children 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 “coach” from the sidelines.

As children grow into their teenage years, some may need a little more feedback then others. This is were the qualities of a great coach come in, knowing that every child is different and how we interact with each child also differs.

Please share and pass on the message. It’s great to have the support from the Councils, the NDSL and clubs. how good would it be for all league to support the campaign and it doesn’t take much to get involved. Remember, this is all for the kids!!

Date for your diary: 

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

We have teamed with Spraychem Golf if any clubs wants rope (1000feet €40) and stakes (from €2.50) to create spectator areas during games. Call Yvonne Richie at 087 236 5858, you can also get the ‘Don’t x the line’ barrier packs from Paul Martin at the FAI.

Sign Up for the Silent Sideline Workshop


I always like to hear your opinions and views. If you feel you have something to say, please comment below or email me and if you don’t have anything to add, please pass this on to a friend.

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