The half-time team-talk is one of the most valuable teaching opportunities we have as soccer coaches to positively impact a players game day experience.
The half-time team-talk is one of the most valuable teaching opportunities we have as coaches to positively impact a players game day experience. It should not, however, be viewed in isolation, but rather as part of the weeks training theme, which in turn should be part of a season-long plan, and ultimately reflects a progressive curriculum focused on long-term player development.
The first part of this process is the pregame team talk. At this time the coach should set players three attainable but challenging targets to achieve during the game.
An example might be as follows:
1: Each player will achieve four passes to a teammate.
2: As a team, we will deliver 3 or more consecutive passes three or more times
3: A third team challenge could be related to a continuing issue that the team may have been having such as defending from corners, and the target would be to attack the ball coming into the penalty area in these situations.
At the beginning of the half time break, coaches should allow players (and themselves) to catch their breath and take a drink. This strategy allows players the chance to decompress while we gather our thoughts and consider what we will say.
Using age-appropriate language for the group, we should then review the three pregame targets and how successfully we have been in achieving them, and it is good practice to allow for player input at this time. However, you may need to consider amending some of the pregame goals that you set forward based on what you have observed during the game.
Halftime is also an opportunity to make tactical adjustments based on the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition. This is very challenging during open play but can be done effectively when you have the players full attention. Individual messages should also be reinforced one-on-one with players before the beginning of the second half.
The final phase of the 3×3 process is the post-game summary. Whenever possible we should engage parents as well as players at this time. This summary should be based on the player’s success regarding the pregame and halftime talk, rather than what the outcome of the game.
At this time Coaches should use a Question and Answer approach to engage the players. An assessment must question how successful individuals and the team were and it is important that coaches check for understanding in a meaningful way to accurately determine players have processed the information.
This is also the perfect opportunity to educate parents about the long term development plan we have and the constant learning environment we create for their child to fulfill their potential.
Too often coaches become emotionally involved in the outcome of the game and the halftime talk then becomes a confusing and reactive mixture of instruction, directions, tactical adjustments and modifications based on the potential outcome of the game rather than the factors we can control.
In the Steel Sports Coaching System, the halftime team-talk is one-third of a 3×3 rule that all coaches follow.
-3 ‘goals’ for the game
-Review & Reinforce 3 goals, Appropriate tactical adjustments
-Assess success based on 3 goals
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like further information or even a coaching clinic for your club.
Director of Steel Sports Coaching System.