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Make It Useful

by Jim Parinella

Basic principles of sideline talk are fairly simple: make it targeted (say the player’s name first), make it specific (not just "c’mon, go, go"), and give information (not instruction). You may not know what the player already knows and is planning, so this lets him decide what to do and how to handle the info. (Sometimes, if the level of trust is high, off-field players can give instructions rather than information.) 

On each point, especially in zone D, establish a one-to-one relationship, so Tom and only Tom is talking to Joe (although occasionally Joe needs to hear from Fred on the other side of the field). On some occasions, a simple exhortation to try harder can be good enough, but don’t forget to throw an occasional compliment for a good defensive effort that results in nothing more than taking away an option. 

On offense, less is generally more. Telling a receiver "No one" (is making an effort to block the pass) or (beware of the) "man on" is about the only thing I like to hear on the field from the sideline. Please don’t call my name unless I really need to know something immediately. Another possibility is to stand behind the thrower in a trap situation to give the thrower an extra second sometimes to find the open guy. 

By now, though, I think the above might qualify as conventional wisdom, and there are some dominant personalities on each team that are going to control the sideline talk. As a quiet guy (despite the volumes of writing), I find that there are things that I can do, that the majority do not, that fit my style and can help the team. 

When we’re on defense, I will position myself farther downfield than any of the players. This way, I can see the hucks coming even before they are thrown, and yell at the defender to get him on his horse to catch up and then direct him once the pass is up (and even to be in position in an unobserved game to call in/out or offer advice on a foul call). One downside is that this isolates you from the rest of the team, but take heart in knowing that you can add a turnover or two per tournament.

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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