Your Field-side Manner SUCKS!

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Hopefully you never have to go the hospital, but if you do, you’ll notice how a doctor or nurse treats you. Most are pretty good, some are exceptional, and some are exceptionally bad. How medical staff treat their patients is called “bed-side manner”, but you already know that.

Well, how a coach or parent acts on the sidelines of a sporting event is called “field-side manner“. For the majority of parents and coaches, their field-side manner is acceptable. For some though, it’s downright atrocious.

FIELD-SIDE MANNER STANDARDS
There are different standards of field-side manner for coaches and parents. In reality, parents can NOT have GOOD field-side manner. Good would be just sitting there and watching, without saying anything. Everyone would approve of that, including the other parents, but there’s no controversy in it, so…

The fact is that most parents are pushing the envelope on BAD field-side manner. Whether it’s snide remarks or downright yelling and screaming at the ref, bad-field-side manner is prevalent at nearly every youth sporting event – not just soccer.

Coaching standards of field-side manner are more balanced. Coaches who limit criticism of players, coach positively and give specific, good feedback have good field-side manner. Being silent at games is also considered good field side manner.

Yelling and screaming, giving more negative criticism than positive feedback and running up the score in a recreational match (especially, at the youth level) is bad field-side manner (you can win without running up the score 10+).

At it’s foundation, youth soccer is about learning the game and learning life lessons through the sport. If a coach is yelling and screaming at his players, then it’s more about the coach, and certainly not about the game or it’s players.

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About Author

Mike Slatton is a 2nd generation American youth soccer coach since 1984, and the son of one of the nation's first female licensed youth soccer coaches (Anita Slatton, 1979). He's also a professional soccer scout, a player since 1977, and the father of three adult and teenage children who all play or have played the game. "My job as a youth soccer coach is to develop detail oriented problem solvers who can react quickly under pressure. This relates to life - not just soccer."

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