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Silent Saturday

Let's always encourage and support our players while they are learning and playing the game, but for this one Saturday, "Mum’s the Word"

"Silent Saturday" is used in AYSO Regions throughout the country with a great deal of success. Its main purpose is to just let the kids play and have fun without having to worry about how their performance is affecting the adults on the sidelines. "Silent Saturday" is a throwback to the old schoolyard days when kids would congregate after school and on weekends just to play the sport all day without regard to who was winning and repercussions for poor play and decision-making. Coaches are requested to communicate and reinforce this with spectators!

The objectives of holding a "Silent Saturday" are:
  • To emphasize that the game is about letting the kids play and have fun
  • To give the players a chance to play totally on their own
  • To help the few parents and coaches who feel they must provide constant direction understand how disruptive it is
  • To show all parents that the kids can play well on their own with limited instruction
While the vast majority of adult verbal participation is intended to be positive and constructive, the fact of the matter is that games can (and have in the past) become so loud that the players often have difficulty hearing each other on the field. Taking one week off from any verbal interference may help adults gain perspective on just how loud they've been in the past. You will all be amazed at how quiet the field will become.

GUIDELINES

Spectators
We request that you make no verbal comments about the game or direct any comments to the players or referees (or coaches) on or off the field. Clapping IS allowed! Be creative in how you choose to cheer your child's team - make signs to hold up or bring a rally towel in the team's color and wave it wildly. There are lots of ways to cheer other than verbally. But please no noise makers and especially no whistles. Often field permits for these school fields surrounded by neighborhoods will not support artificial noise makers. Especially no compressed air horns. 

Coaches
It is recommended that you do not provide any direction - verbal or non-verbal - to players who are on the field. You may speak quietly to any players on the bench and have a conversational discussion about the game with the players before and after the game, and during halftime. If absolutely required, rarely and quietly call a player on the field to the touchline to provide tactical instruction while the game is in play. Just like you are allowed to do during a normal game. Then let the player convey the message to the team. 

Players
You are encouraged to speak to each other on the field as normal. You are free to support each other and provide direction to each other. Substitute players on the bench must be quiet as well and not cheer or provide tactical instruction to their teammates. Lest they simply replace the coach or act on his behest. 

Referees
For this special day, referees are being asked to monitor the spectators and coaches adherence to these guidelines and to offer reminders if the recommendations are not being followed, including notifying the coaches and/or stopping the game if necessary. Continue to verbalize often during the game as you normally would and do not be concerned about the fact they can now hear you off the field as well. You are there to help the players have a safe, fair and fun time.

WHY SILENT SATURDAY?

This anecdote was excerpted from the "Now What?" section of AYSO's weekly "Hey Coach" email newsletter, and we felt re-posting it here might help to enlighten everyone on what "Silent Sidelines" is really supposed to be about as well as give our coaches ideas on helping their parents also understand what it's about.

"My Region has decided to implement Silent Saturdays as a way to reduce the loud noise on the sidelines and parents are upset! They think their children enjoy the loud sideline noise and cheering. They don’t understand how Silent Saturdays helps the kids. Now What?"

Answer: Silent Saturdays were designed to eliminate the epidemic of parents and coaches yelling instructions from the sidelines. An easy analogy is if you were in the middle of a task, would it help to have someone screaming at you and telling you what to do? No, so why is this acceptable on a soccer field? Parents need to understand the spirit of Silent Saturdays, which is to allow players to make decisions and learn the game. After all if the child doesn't make their own mistakes, it will hinder their development in the sport. If parents think their children are confused and don’t know what to do without sideline instruction, that's an indication that players haven't been allowed to make their own decisions. Players will learn the game by making their own decisions, learning from their mistakes and continuing to play.

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AYSO REGION 1422 - LAGUNA HILLS

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