My experience has been similar. I also have witnessed both active soccer coaching and the passive sideline coach . I also have been instructed not to coach during games or during practice scrimmages. I also have been an active and a passive sideline coach at times. Here is my take on the situation.
I think the coaching style observed probably depends on the relationship developed between the coach and his/her players. For example, I have often had serious, but inexperienced players, request positional help from the sideline. Such players do not feel comfortable enough to make game-play decisions on their own which might make them responsible for poor team results. These players need help, requested help, and appreciate help.
Also, I find it very difficult personally to coach positional play at practice when attendance is sparse and certainly not sufficient to coach 11 v. 11. Therefore, there are games that I identify as a “practice” game. During that game I am usually very “active”. We might be working on a different style of play (man-to-man vs. zone defense; or high pressure vs. low-pressure defense) or a change in positional play (4-4-2 when we normally play 4-3-3). These game day practices are highly beneficial for long-term development.
Also the intensity of these “practice” games can not be replicated at practice. Another reason for “active” coaching is immediate positive feedback from the sidelines. Speed of feedback has been proven to be instrumental to learning. “Active” cheerleader type of coaching may help form a strong competitive bond with his/her players.
Players play for enjoyment. Active coaching can severely hinder the enjoyment of playing and if negative can even totally destroy player enjoyment. Additionally, significant “active” coaching can lead to player dependence on coach decision-making rather than player-developed decision-making. Therefore, restricting player development.
Even occasional active coaching can cause player indecision. These players may be caught in moments of two minds. “Passive” coaching can eliminate these concerns with active coaching. I personally try to include in every practice session a restriction free “passively” coached scrimmage.
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Written by; Wallace Leese
FUNdamental SOCCER Contributor
Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)