December 14, 2021

Communication in Soccer Players - Why It’s Important and How to Implement It Effectively on the Field

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Mike Semenza

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Communication in Soccer Players - Why It’s Important and How to Implement It Effectively on the Field Image

Soccer is a very hectic and chaotic environment. There are constant changes happening on the field. The game is fast-paced, and players need to be able to handle the second-to-second shifts and communicate through the chaos. As soccer becomes more competitive, players need to develop their soccer communication skills to stay ahead of the game.

“Man On!” “Push Up!” “Keeper!” “Time!” These are just a few of the phrases soccer players (and spectators) hear during a game or practice. Effective communication within the game gives your teammates valuable information they need to make favorable decisions on and off the ball. Blayze Coach Mike Semenza will walk you through how to create effective communication with your teammates.

Why Is Communication Important?

Communication is about the transfer or exchange of information through audible (voices), visual (eyes), tactile (hands), and body language (movements, gestures). Because of the quickness of the game, soccer players need to be able to use all types of communication to better help their teammates.

During a game, soccer players frequently communicate by giving instructions to other players. Coaches communicate with the players. Referees communicate with players (and sometimes coaches). In youth soccer, there are times when parents communicate with players. In collegiate or professional soccer, fans communicate to the players.

There are times during games where all forms of communication are happening at once. It can be a real sensory overload to some! Listen to the video clip below. Notice all the noise from the pro game. And this is without fans screaming.

There are several types of communication within soccer that are useful to our teammates.

  • Attacking tactical instructions – this occurs when teammates give suggestions to other players on how best to take advantage of possession of the ball.

  • Defensive tactical instructions – when players guide teammates on what is happening in the defending third of the field.

  • Encouragement – this happens when teammates recognize each other for quality plays or help another teammate move past a mistake.

  • Warnings – when a player calls for the ball or tells fellow teammates to switch fields or cover an opponent.

How to Train Your Communication Skills

Communication is a skill and must be trained to be more effective on the field. The best way to train your communication skills is by using self-reflection questions. You should self-reflect on these four questions before, during, and after your practices and games.

  • What did I communicate?

  • Why did I communicate it?

  • When did I communicate it?

  • How was it communicated?

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First, you want to ask yourself what did I communicate? What did you tell your teammates? Your coach? The referee? Maybe you guided a teammate on dropping back or let another player know he kept leaving his mark open.

Now reflect on why did you communicate this information? Why was it important for your teammate to know they needed to drop back? What happens to the player leaving their mark open? Why was this information important to you, them, and your team?

Third, think about when you communicated the information. Was it on time? Was it too late? Did I warn my teammate soon enough to drop back? What about the teammate that needed to pick up their mark? If you are telling your teammates information too late, it will not help them or your team.

Finally, and this one is very critical, how did you communicate? You can transfer communication to players, coaches, parents, and others on the field at any time, but did you effectively transfer the information?

Let us explore effective communication a bit more. Say you are on the field. You feel like the referee made a bad call. You walk up to the ref and start yelling. You blame the referee for the bad call and that the call hurt your team in some way. We all know a player who can be a bit too mouthy with the ref. But is this effective communication? Is the ref even listening to you? Could this style of communicating be hurting your team more than helping?

Body Language as a Way to Communicate

Try and remember that your body language while on the field is also a form of communication. Have you seen the teammate that throws their hands in the air after losing the ball? How does that make you feel to see that? Or what about when a goalkeeper misses a shot, and they kick the post? It is never fun to lose possession or miss a goal, but displaying negative body language not only hurts you, but it can also mentally hurt your teammates as well.

Science shows that even if you are having a hard day if you change your body positioning to positive, it can help your performance. If you are feeling lethargic out on the field, you can use your body language to think, be and do so your actions, like confident passing or quick movements, do not negatively impact your game.

Dutch and German researchers conducted a study on nonverbal behaviors in penalty kick situations and the effect on the opposing soccer team. Results of the study show that a player’s nonverbal behavior influences the impression and outcome expectation of the opposing player. Players who demonstrated dominant body language were perceived to shoot precisely by the opposing side. Players showing negative body language were seen by goalkeepers and outfield players as less likely to make the shot.

In addition, the body language of the penalty shooters affected the goalkeeper’s behavior. For players seen to have negative body language, goalkeepers adjusted their bodies’ reactions and waited longer before making their move. This increased their chances of saving the penalty shot.

Effective communication gives your teammates more information to make a better decision in a split second. This can lead to more desirable outcomes with the ball. But your communication style and body language can also impact the way your teammates see you and how the other team performs.

Learn More With Blaze!

The secret to mastering any skill is practice! Do you feel like you could use additional help in perfecting developing your communication skills? Could you use direct feedback on your strengths and weaknesses?

At Blayze we give you a personalized coaching session from the very best coaches in the world. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, submit your performance video to one of Blayze’s highly qualified coaches. The custom-developed coaching session can help you improve your on-field skills, so you are performing at your very best in every game. One easy click here will take you to more details on our coaching sessions.

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About the coach

Blayze Coach Mike Semenza

Mike Semenza

6+ years of professional coaching with LA Galaxy, EXOS and COPA STC

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