Silent Saturday: Giving the players a chance to create and communicate on the field

Topeka Soccer Club is proud to join other soccer organizations across the country with Silent Saturday. This yearly fixture for many soccer groups is a one day event where parents, coaches, and spectators are not allowed to talk, yell, or coach from the sidelines during the game.

If it sounds like a wild idea, here's a simple explanation:

In many volunteer programs, coaching education is an ongoing challenge that all programs face. We all need to be better in this area of teaching young people and our goal is to provide the educational resources to assist in their efforts to improve their approach to soccer education.

During the first stage of soccer development, it is essential that the children are allowed to discover the game on their own terms. High-level coaches constantly complain that players come through the ranks dependent on instructions because they've been bossed around in the early stages — being told where to run and when to pass. They also cite a dearth of truly creative players — the ones with the ability to make the unpredictable moves-blaming the lack of freedom children are afforded during their early years.

Experience has proven that a team that talks consistently amongst themselves while on the field will be a stronger team then one that is silenced by the crowd. TSC coaches and leaders have experience on the field with a team that never communicates amongst themselves. We have seen first-hand how too much coaching from off the field creates a deficit if playing against a communicating team.

In addition, kids are often the most vocal about how much they love Silent Saturdays. At the end of the game, the players' responses are overwhelmingly the same: “It was so much fun.” “We loved it.” “Why can’t we have Silent Saturday every week?” Good question! It’s the closest our overly organized, hyper-regimented sports universe comes to old school recreation, which, sans adult interference, fosters fun, growth and innovation. A kid, a ball, a team and a goal, with the decision making and problem solving left to the players. What could be more empowering than that?

Our objectives are simple:

  • Allow players to trust their skills and instincts without sideline input and without the stress involved in correcting mistakes from the sidelines during a game environment.
  • To create leadership skills among players as they work together to communicate and play.  
  • To foster teamwork as players rely on each other another and communicate together
  • To remind coaches, parents, and players that practice is where kids learn what to do during the game. During the game, muscle memory should dictate what they've been going over in practice.
  • To serve as a reminder that youth soccer is designed to help kids play, learn, and have fun. 

THE RULES

  • Please refrain from yelling from sidelines. Coaches are permitted to call out for substitutions, and coaches may speak quietly to their players on the sidelines, giving them instructions to carry out onto the field. Remember: the objective is to get the kids to talk during the game.
  • Feel free to clap when a goal is scored!
  • Get creative in supporting your child on game day! Feel free to make posters, signs, or banners that you can hold up and display on game day. We can't wait to see what you come up with

Finally, as we work to improve to support our membership, we will continue to try new ways to engage the kids in their efforts to grow as young soccer players. Change can be difficult, but we are excited to show you what Silent Saturday begins to do for the confidence of your players.

Feel free to share your thoughts, and we will work to provide more information as we all strive to our common goal to provide the best atmospheres possible for the kids.

Let’s keep the ball rolling!


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