Coach and players communication

The ways of training and communicating with players have been evolving. The quest for maximum sports performance has banished methods in which players were treated as robots, by others in which they were given freedom of action, in which decision-making and intelligence development were encouraged.

What has not been worked in seven days, can hardly be achieved in ninety minutes. For this reason, it is almost impossible to achieve what is desired, no matter how much a coach from the sideline gets out of hand giving instructions or directing as if he were playing a game in a video game.

For the players to do what the coach proposes, it is always more advisable to convince than to impose. The player who plays under impositions, pressure, fear, etc. will never be able to perform 100%. Negative language, on the other hand, sometimes involves mental blocks. If a striker is told "how bad you are" every time he misses a goal and is reproached, it is more than likely that he will end up creating a limiting barrier. Every time he goes to shoot on goal the first thought that comes to mind is the coach recriminating him if he fails, that is, he is going to fail because it is very bad, etc ... the result will surely be that he will not score a goal.

When that negative language becomes an internal verbalization (the player ends up thinking that it is bad, it is useless) it will affect performance, since negative thoughts affect feelings and these affect actions. Behaviors are influenced by thoughts.

Language affects self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence are in turn affect motivation. The deficit in these factors produces deconcentration, stress, anxiety. The coach directly influences all of them, for better or for worse.

The language and communication between the coach and the players is essential in the pursuit of sports excellence. Therefore it is necessary on many occasions that the sports coaching process begins with the coach himself, rather than in the group.

Let's divide the coach-player / s communication into five scenarios:

  • Training
  • Pre-match
  • During the match
  • Rest
  • Post match


During training is when the coach should speak the most. Always trying to use positive language. Clear and brief explanations. Correcting and encouraging when mistakes are made. Long explanations mean that the concentration of the receivers (players) is lost and that more information is given, unnecessary information for the intended purpose.


Before the game we must briefly remember what has been worked on during the week, what we are looking to achieve. The tactical talk should be brief, the work is already done during the week. The pre-match talk should be primarily motivational.


During the matches the work done during the week must be reflected, you cannot ask for more or less. In current soccer, decision-making must be encouraged in the player from an early age, so it is convenient that during games the players are the ones who decide and the coach communicates with them with two main objectives:

  • Correct or modify positions
  • Encourage / Motivate


If in 90 minutes it is impossible to achieve what we have not worked in seven days, in fifteen minutes less. If we seek to get the most out of the group, these minutes should be used for positive and motivational reinforcements. There are many theories, some defend that these minutes should be used one hundred percent. I personally consider that it should be divided into 4 phases.

A first of real rest, in which the players rehydrate, lower their heart rate, and in which they try not to say absolutely anything about the match. They are in a physical state in which everything is magnified for good (if the team is winning), as well as for bad (if the team is losing). Therefore, 3-5 minutes of absolute rest is convenient.

A second phase to highlight the positive aspects. Win or lose there will always be something that is being done well or according to what has been worked. If the team wins, it serves to make the group aware that this work must continue. If the team loses it acts as a positive reinforcement, as a starting point to continue improving.

A third phase to correct the negative aspects. Always with positive vocabulary, and referring to the group. We correct tactical errors, technical errors do not make sense to be corrected at that time. As always, explanations have to be short and clear.

A fourth phase that we use to motivate the team.


This talk would be similar in terms of its structure, to that offered at the break. Some coaches prefer to give it after the shower, others on the bus and others in the first training session after the game. There are coaches who only give the talk when they win. Others only when they lose.

The ideal is when the team is calm, after the game the sensations for better or for worse are magnified. If you decide to give after the shower or on the bus, you should start with what was done well, then comment on the mistakes we have made and finally motivate you in the face of the work that must continue to be done. Personally, I consider it a good tactic to try that once the game is over, nothing is said about it, it is the way to end it. And during the week reinforce and correct what has been seen in it. Say nothing, win or lose. But whatever option is chosen, use positive language.

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