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Adults and their funny instructions
by Mike Woitalla, December 10th, 2009 1PM

TAGS:  youth boys


By Mike Woitalla

In last week's Youth Soccer Insider ("Lost in Translation"), Susan Boyd shared some priceless examples of adult sideline instructions that were misinterpreted - to say the least -- by the young children they were aimed at and yielded some humorous responses. The piece prompted our readers to share some of their own, and jogged my memory of some of the most entertaining "advice" I've heard from adults at youth soccer fields.

Daniel and Nancy Cohen said their son was playing ball with his grandfather, who told him "keep your eye on the ball." The boy walked over to his grandfather and put his eye right next to the ball.

"I explained to my team," Jim Froslid recounted, "that when the ball goes over the touchline, I want us to take our throw-ins as soon as possible in order to 'catch the other team sleeping.' After the game I asked if everyone had fun and the girl in the back raised her hand and said, 'Coach I did not see any players on the other team with their eyes closed when we took our throw-ins.'"

Monica McMillan reported that at her 7-year-old daughter's first soccer practice, the coach shouted "dribble, dribble." Because she had only ever seen her cousins playing basketball, she picked up the ball and started bouncing it with her hands.

I once heard a coach yell at 6-year-olds, "Give him a target on the flank!" What are the odds, I thought, that the youngsters had any idea what that meant? Never mind they could barely kick the ball 10 yards.

Eavesdropping on a coach addressing his 9-year-old troops at halftime, I heard him commanding that, "We need to neutralize No. 10!" The No. 10 managed to stay happily un-neutralized in the second half

One of my all-time favorites: A U-10 coach screamed, "Over here! Over here!" at the top of his lungs while a little goalkeeper had the ball in his hands. The coach apparently wanted the keeper to send the ball to the right wing. And so the keeper punted the ball - more precisely than I imagined he had the skill for - and it rolled out of bounds, right to the coach's feet. Well done!

(Mike Woitalla is the executive editor of Soccer America. His youth articles are archived at

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