Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


The best coaches know what to say at half-time
DC

Dave Clarke

Two managers under pressure met in the semi-finals of this season’s Carling Cup. Birmingham city managed by Alex McLeish and West Ham United managed by Avram Grant showed how managers can have a profound effect on the performance of a team.

With Birmingham 3-1 ahead on aggregate at half time in the second of the two leg semi-final it was likely that Birmingham were out. McLeish had to motivate his team if he wanted to have any chance of winning the game. This is what he said to the team: "We are out… but it’s not official yet. It’s up to you if you want to come in at the end of 90 minutes and say you have regrets or you didn’t give it your all."

His talk resulted in Birmingham coming back from 3-1 to win the game in injury time 4-3. An amazing turnaround.

On the other hand Grant was quiet in the West Ham dressing room. He later confessed: "I didn’t know what to say to them at half-time."

While McLeish used a motivational approach to revive a team that looked beaten, Grant seemed to shrink from the challenge because he couldn’t cope with the pressure of winning.

This illustrates how the half time team talk is important – however you choose to do it – to inspire your team to victory.

Here are my half-time tips:

  • As soon as the first half is over, move to your players. Don’t make them move for you. Unless there is an obvious alternative, such as some shade or cover in sunny or adverse weather.

  • Be clear from obvious distractions such as the opposition.

  • Ask the players to sit down. This way communication is easier, the players are still and they are in the best position for recovery and hydration.

  • A key tip is to get players to drink moderate amounts of water at a continual rate. This means having as many water bottles available as possible. Successful recovery and hydration allows the team to absorb feedback quicker.

For the most constructive feedback time:

  • Get or wait until you know that you have everyone’s attention.

  • Provide two or three major points.

  • Be clear, positive and constructive.

  • Colourful language doesn’t necessarily motivate players.

Plan for the second half

  • Pinpoint the areas for improvement.

  • Highlight opposition weaknesses and how to take advantage of them.

  • Re-emphasise the positives and the skills from the first half and the need to stick to the game plan, particularly for the first 10 minutes of second half.

  • Before you leave the field, have a quick final word with the captain before the final huddle is formed.

Half-time summary

  • Don’t talk until everyone is listening.

  • Don’t concentrate on negatives.

  • Don’t spring any surprises.

  • Don’t allow too much player input all at once.


    4 Comments so far
    Leave a comment

    Fantastic job

    Comment by Katy Swindoll

    Having the mentallity that one lives for the moment and that if you leave the pitch knowing that you gave your best; then the best will undiniably show. There can only be one that is the best and if you seek anything less than that title you are cutting yourself short. We are able to do all things, find the right strength to know this and victory is all that you will achieve. I guarantee this!

    Comment by Coach Miguel UFC

    very profesional

    Comment by amine

    PROFESSIONAL WAY
    AT HALFTIME .iMP TO MAINTAIN EXACT 10 MINS 2.5 MINS STARTING AND ENDING OF THE HALF TIME TO BE GIVEN TO PLAYERS FOR SETTLING AND DISCUSING AMONG THEM.THIS TOTALS 15 MINS.
    iF ONE STICKS THIS METHOD .2ND HALF WILL BE FRUITFULL

    Comment by Diago Fernandes




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