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Two Things Durings A Point

by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

When you find yourself on the sideline, there are two obvious things to do during a point. You should serve as an extra brain and pair of eyes to help them execute the team’s strategy, and you need to encourage them to keep putting in effort. I’ll skip over these two aspects of sideline help (which I hope others will cover in more detail), and focus on one aspect which takes place after a point is over, and one aspect which is believed to be helpful, but is frequently not, and should be discouraged. 

A mistake/learning opportunity during the middle of a point is hard for a player on the field to capitalize on their own because they were thinking about the 50 other things which happened during that point. However, a teammate on the sideline is in a much better situation to recognize, remember, offer perspective, and therefore help teammates improve. If you have trouble remembering, write it down. If you’re not sure how a mistake might be corrected, or if a mistake was made at all, talk to a more experienced teammate. In my opinion it is better to watch one person the entire point, as opposed to many people. Not only can you help that person in real-time, but you can also get a feel for what that person was trying to do, instead of taking one mistake out of context. 

Finally, just because the point is over doesn’t mean you need to stop encouraging the teammate you’ve been watching. If you didn’t notice any mistakes, praise their effort. In fact, even if you did notice something they could improve upon, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the rest of the point where they were playing well. Give praise where praise is due. 

The one thing I’ve never been a fan of is a sideline voice that tells me to do something which is the right play in a vacuum, but is contradictory to the team’s strategy. Practically speaking, the chain of events which must take place is often way too slow to be helpful. A person on the sideline needs to recognize what’s going to happen, figure out the appropriate response, communicate it to someone on the field, who then needs to recognize and react in a way they weren’t anticipating. Furthermore, the principle of playing on a team and having a cohesive strategy is undermined every time someone freelances, and is made worse when your own teammate is encouraging you to do so. 

Every time a player does something unexpected, there is almost always a trade-off which weakens the approach a team is taking. A prime example of this is a strike call on a sideline trap. You hear this call quite a bit, but acting on a strike call does two things. First, the marker is giving up the portion of the field the rest of the team is expecting them to take away. Second, it helps out a defender who was beat to a position of the field that was their responsibility to take away, not the marker’s. So, not only is the marker rewarding that one defender who was beat by trying to cover for their mistake, but by changing the mark they are screwing the other five defenders by letting off an easy break mark throw. This isn’t to say strike calls are bad. But your team needs to decide that occasionally stopping that throw is worth the mark abandoning the portion of the field for which they are responsible.

huddle issue030 Using The Sideline Voice

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Keep It Calm
by Jody Avirgan

Two Things Durings A Point
by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

Standardizing A Team Way Of Communicating
by Greg Husak

A Strong Sideline Voice
by Tyler Kinley

Tangible vs. Intangible
by Brett Matzuka

A Constant Stream Of Specific Information
by Colin McIntyre

Make It Useful
by Jim Parinella

Sharing The Work
by Logan Pendragon

Assisting The Visually Impaired
by Taylor Pope

It Takes Practice
by Moses Rifkin

Loud + Positive = Good
by Miranda Roth

Provide New Information and Reinforcement
by Shane Rubenfeld

The Zone
by Ben van Heuvelen




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