Phrases and terms in soccer you need to know. I remember being a kid and hearing some parents yell too much. You feel for the kid because it’s embarrassing. There was one kid whose dad always yelled his son’s name followed by “shoot”… The constant nagging drove him away from the sport. Now being a soccer parent and volunteer coach for my daughters rec team, my goal is to help this new generation of soccer families. This is our 4th season (now ages 8-9) and one of the main things I communicated to the parents is for them not to “coach” from the sidelines… Parents yelling “shoot” and “kick it” only confuses the kids. Below I have listed some phrases/terms to use and not to use. Note: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Parent communication checklist
What Not to say:
- Shoot (This is probably most common and the parents could be right in saying it, BUT don’t realize that it rushes the kids and messes them up.) Sometimes players need an extra touch. It’s best you don’t joystick the players.
- Boot it or kick it (sounds bad) instead learn terms like “look up” or “see the field”… At the same time – I prefer parents don’t tell the kids what to do and instead tell them “good hustle” after a play.
- Attack (when your team is on defense) instead you could say “pressure”… But maybe the coach doesn’t want them to in that moment, so know when it’s right or just don’t say anything.
- What are you doing? (We don’t want the kids to feel stupid or ashamed)
- Push them back (You have to understand that soccer is physical and oftentimes the contact is legal. Yes, fouls happen and some of them are by accident, while others are on purpose.) Instead of yelling “push them back” maybe say “be strong” because it’s saying the same thing without sounding bad:)
What to say:
- Good hustle
- Nice job
- Way to work together
- Unlucky or it’s okay (after a mistake)
- Stay focused or stay switched on (meaning – be ready at all times)
Watching soccer – especially your own kids can be very difficult to be quiet and say the right things…
It’s important to let the coach do their job and you do yours.
Knowing what to say helps for the times you do speak.
“Some things are only for the coaches and players to say.”
20 soccer terms to know
Helpful terms for parents to know, but not yell during the game:)
Communication for coaches and players to use.
- Step and Cover: defensive terms used at different times
- Drop off: Usually a defender drops back to get open for a pass
- Switch the field: Pass the ball [short or long] from one side to the next
- Get wide: To use the width of the field
- Goal kick: After a team shoots over or wide of the goal the other team takes a goal kick from the corner of the 6 yard box
- Corner kick: If the ball is last touched by the defending team and goes over the goal line the attacking team takes a corner. You can score directly off the kick or your teammate can head or kick the ball in.
- Free kicks or set pieces
- Penalty kick: [pk]
- Header not “head butt”🙂
- Bring the ball down: Trap the ball from out of the air
- Trap or take a touch: The term 1st touch can be used as a trap or pass
- Hit it one time: is usually meant to shoot the ball before trapping it
- Finish: difference from shooting and finishing
- Clear it out: telling the defenders to get the ball out of the 18 yard box area.
- Check to or check away
- Crossing: A long pass [in air or on ground] from outside to the middle of the attacking third of the field. Drills to improve
- Through ball
- Lay it off: used for forwards to make a short pass back – away from the goal you’re attacking
- Flick on’s:
- Go in strong on the tackle: 3 ways: Slide tackle, 50/50 or shoulder charge. Learn how to be more aggressive
“Coaches coach, parents support.”
Why it’s important to learn terms in soccer
Notice [above] all the things you should say are encouraging – not coaching.
Let the coach do the teaching. Parents can cheer.
One reason it’s important to know terms in soccer is because it helps educate the kids. Also you’ll sound better:)
I sure wouldn’t want to go to a volleyball match and yell out the wrong things because I don’t know the terms…
In soccer/futbol there are some things you just don’t want to say…
It could be because it’s literally not the right timing or it could just be the wrong words.
Former pros who are now soccer parents
Here’s a great picture of Leo Messi and Suarez sitting in chairs watching their kids futbol games…
In the picture you can tell Messi and Suarez are relaxing and letting the coach do their job.
Usually the parents who are the loudest are the ones who never played at a high level.
Remember, it’s okay to cheer and encourage, but just don’t tell the kids what to do during the games.
Being patient and knowing when to speak
Kids enjoy themselves more when parents aren’t always saying something from the sidelines.
There are plenty of times to teach your kids what to do…
I know it’s hard to be silent:) Oftentimes parents are correct in what they say, but it’s important to know when to speak.
The worst is when a parent is non stop yelling the wrong things.
Being competitive is good, but learning to control the tongue is better.
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