Coaches, get them to bark!

Tonight we coaches told the teams they need to begin to talk.   Coaches say this all the time to teams to get them to communicate, and our teams need to communicate more frequently, and more urgently, but they do not need to talk.  One player said it best, “I am not the loudest player as it is; when I talk no one hears me.”  She has a point.

Indoor soccer is loud, especially in a gym. So getting players to talk is actually half the battle.  Players need to build the skill of recognizing when a play is “on” and they are the player in best position to create something.  When this happens, time is short, and you need to alert teammate-in-possession, “hey I am here, find me now!”   Talking does not get this done, not across distance or in a gym, or amidst the timpani of the game.

But a bark, is a tool fit for a footballer!  English players use the sound “oiiii’, not even a word, to call for the ball, or as my collegiate assistant coach used to say, to demand the ball.  Whatever name you call out or soccer noise you end up making, the trick is in getting heard, above cacophony.

The trick to calling for the ball is to, yes, bark, correctly, which means you inhale way deeper than if you are normally breathing, deeper than the thorax, and deliver all of that breath sharply, quickly, explosively, all at once.  You can be heard over the sound of regular soccer, I testify, well, you may remember I demonstrate this quite frequently as your coach.

All chuckles aside, you should be clear about one more thing…..

OK, I know you will not believe this next part, I did not either at first, and really no one will ask you to believe it because after you read about it you will most likely laugh and not believe…so who am I to testify?

But the ancients (like back before guns and metal) claimed to be able to crumble a stone with the force of a yell…But that is just the thing. It is not really a yell like we will think of a yell.  It is something like a weapon that has been sharpened over a lifetime, like a tool that has become the metaphorical “extension of the arm”.

Martial artists don’t call their yells yells.  This is true, I know, because I am a Martial Artist…you can stop laughing now, but in Tae Kwon Do, which I practice/teach, we “ki-ahp”.

This “ki” part is, like, a whole ‘nother essay, and I am not sure we could call it a soccer essay, per se, so I say we just skip to this idea of identifying and inhaling, and barking, when we need to call for the biscuit. I mean the ball, y’all.  And that is all. Woof!


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