If by chance your team is having one of those games where everything’s going right or that unknown new player from Istanbul is all futbol, and you’re up 3-0 in the first 6 minutes of play, here’s some tips on how to keep the game from exceeding the 5 goal differential (win by >5). By the way, this season we’ve already had a couple of 9-0 games and one 14-1 game.
What to do (discretely and in no particular order):
1. Have your playmaker sit one quarter or play keeper.
2. Limit players to 3 touches (explain this at practice).
3. Limit shots on goal to a few select players who rarely score.
4. Restrict shots on goal to their weak leg or header shot only (U10 and up).
5. Rotate top players out of forward positions.
6. Downplay the score. Say “We’re doing great and I’m sure we are up/down a couple; don’t worry about the exact score”.
7. Tell your top player to work on his/her game and not focus on personal stats. Show us some good passes.
8. During and after the game, cite the positives that you see in your team and individual players. Be optimistic.
9. After the game, always ask your players if they gave 100% and tell them that’s all you ask for and that they should be proud of their efforts.
What NOT to do:
1. Yell “no more goals”.
2. Discuss a lopsided game right after the game with the opposing coach. Let coach spend time with their team.
3. Assume the opposing coach needs more training. Sometimes it’s not who you play, but when you play them.
4. Tell players to not play hard.
The purpose of the limit is to keep the game somewhat competitive for 4 quarters, and to remind you that there is another team on the other side of the field. After all, it’s recreational soccer.
This rule applies to all age levels, even U6/U8. There is a 1 point penalty for U10 and up divisions. Remember that we do keep score on the scorecards, even for U6 & U8. The only difference is that we don’t have standings. You may inform players the score at any age group, but don’t make a big deal about it.