Positive Saturday (10/24/2020) - Encourage without Coaching

We, at the HTRSA, will continue our spin to the silent Saturday concept. For those of you unfamiliar with Silent Saturday, the idea is simple:  Its purpose is to let the kids play and make their own decisions and correct their mistakes. The sport of soccer is a player-driven sport. Soccer is a game unlike many other games we play in America: it is NOT coach-driven. Players are expected to make their own decisions on the field, play after play after play. There are no timeouts, no base coach relaying signals, no plays being drawn up on clipboards. One year we did a totally silent Saturday, and it was successful. Everyone followed the rules and let the kids play, but the enthusiam and thrill of the game seemed dampened.

This year, we will change this by highlighting the focus on:

(1) no coaching from the sidelines or from coaching staff, and
(2) emphasize the encouragement that should be followed at every game.

This is for the kids, as too much coaching is distracting, and kids KNOW when they make mistakes... nobody has to remind them! Kids are the ones who enjoy the Silent/Positive Saturday the most. I'd like to share some real examples that I've experienced during the last 15+ years of coaching boys to highlight these points.

I had a player in division 3, who still did not understand the offside's concept and in one game, he was offsides 6 times!!! Fortunately, it only took him to get penalized twice by the official for an offsides infraction before he caught on. After those two losses of possession, every time he was in an offsides position, he looked for the last defender and moved back before the ball was passed. I could have tried hollaring up and down the field to get his attention, but until the player see's it for himself, I'm just background noise!

Another time, in another game and division, I had a player Zachary.  Zachary's mom was a friend from our old stomping grounds... and yes, I'll even admit it, Groveville!  Zach's dad was a self-appointed "side-line" coach.  Every play, he'd be out there: "Zachary move up", "Zachary move back", and "Zachary get the ball."  In one game, I had Zachary as one of our defenders.  Zach's dad was out there as usual, "move up", "move back", "get the ball", and then in one play the opponent's striker blows past him to the goal. Zachary's dad starts screaming, "Zachary what are you doing?!?!?!"  So I yell back to him "He's listening to you!  He's looking at you awaiting the next instruction and not watching the game right in front of him!!!!"  Dad got a little better after that one.

So for just one game, let the kids play.  Let them make their own decisions and mistakes.  During the game, encourage without coaching! To simplify things, I've compiled some Do's and Don'ts we want coaches and spectators to follow.  Clapping and cheering is always appropriate!

Do Say things like: Don't Say things like:
Nice ball Not in the Middle
Good Touch Go to the Ball
Nice Try Pressure him
Great Effort Cross to the middle
Good Goal Far Post/Near Post
Nice Shot Kick it outside
Nice Assist Go after him
Great Stop You're offsides
Good Job Get/Move Back
Great Save Push up
Awesome header SHOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!


  • Follow the DO'S and avoid the DON'Ts
  • Encourage both teams. A "great shot" or a "great save" is a great shot/save regardless if it was for your team or against your team!
  • Let the kids play and be their biggest fan!
  • Sit back and enjoy the game


  • Coaches may speak quietly to any players on the bench and have a discussion about the game with the players before and after the game and during the breaks.
  • Substituting players on the bench must be quiet as well and do not use it to provide tactical instruction to the team.
  • IN DIVISION 7 ONLY, since coaches are also officials on the field, LIMITED COACHING by the field coach IS OK but please keep it simple and concise to keep the game moving.


  • This is and always has been YOUR GAME.
  • You are encouraged (ORDERED?!?!) to speak to each other on the field as normal.
  • Support each other and provide direction to each other.
  • Remember, though, your job is to play.  Do not be critical of one another, play your position to the best of your ability and work with all of your teammates to overcome any difficulties encountered during the game.

Referees have been instructed that if spectators and coaches are not following the rules, the referees are to stop the game at the next whistle and speak to the coaches and have them speak to the spectators.  A parent, coach, or spectator who cannot contain themselves will be asked to leave the game. We look forward to another excellent weekend of soccer!

Thank you again for your cooperation!
-HTRSA Administration

P.S.  Please no air horns or whistles. They are too distracting.  As always, Referee's are in charge of the games.

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