Silent Sideline


Very often in kid’s sports adults, parents and coaches become overly vocal in their approach to working with young athletes. However well intentioned some of them may be, the results are not always positive.

With a Silent Sideline Weekend, the coaches, parents and spectators are asked to keep talking to a bare minimum on the sidelines. One coach from each team will be given the task to instruct ( not during the game ), whilst everyone else watches on in SILENCE.

Supporters are allowed to clap to show their enthusiasm but the adults are restricted from coaching their kids from the sideline. This is a weekend when kids can make decisions for themselves, without having adults shout 5/6 different instructions at them.

We now know that when adults scream from the sidelines they're not just invading the children's play time, they're preventing children from learning the game in a natural manner.

With the sidelines quiet, players have the chance to concentrate, make their own split-second decisions and learn by them. Instead of being distracted by the stream of noise that usually exists, the kids on the pitch get the opportunity to communicate with one another, deciding who will take the throw ins, the goal-kicks, free-kicks and/or the corner kicks in the game. This also gives them time to think and focus on what they are about to do.

The teeny tiny kids may need a little direction but you must try and let them figure it out for themselves before stepping in. Remember, it's only one game!


The focus of the weekend is not to take the atmosphere out of the kids' game but instead try and encourage less coaching from the line. It’s about educating adults that screaming at children whilst they play sport is wrong. I want every youth team in Ireland in organised leagues in every sport to conform to the 'Silent sideline weekend.’ I know not everyone is going to agree with the idea, but one thing is for sure the kids absolutely will.

You can be sure that one population that also favours the silence is the referees. They will love this, and I'm sure they would love to have it every weekend!!!

“It’s the introduction of adult values into kids’ games, When I grew up, it was children competing against children. Now, more often than not, it’s adults competing against other adults through their children.” - John O'Sullivan Changing The Game Project

What's Expected:

  • A day when we, Let the kids play.
  • Everyone can get involved.
  • If the opposition aren’t willing to participate, no don’t worry you can learn so much from observing them.
  • Clubs to manage this initiative internally.
  • Club should select 2 sideline keepers to reinforce a positive and silent attitude on the line.
  • Each club should have a silent sideline ambassador.
  • Absolutely NO shouting or directing from the sidelines.
  • Coaching staff to speak to players at halftime and when making changes ONLY (Coach during the game if absolutely necessary).
  • Clapping & cheering allowed for goals scored and effort from both sides.
  • No directing or coaching advice from adults at anytime.
  • No questioning of the official in charge of game. (If required call official over to your side) .
  • Rope the pitches and provide a designated area for parents. (Stand back, observe and enjoy the game) .
  • Kids voices are all we want to hear on match day.
  • Lollipops are a fun way of helping people to stay silent!
  • Enjoy the experience

Going forward we need less coaching and directing from the line. Encourage, Praise, Clap and Cheer. It’s really important that we allow the kids to take control of their game. I see it all the time, where parents/coaches go over the entire game and point out the child’s mistakes. Not even adults like to hear about the things they did wrong.

Children need praise not criticism. Providing feedback on what he/she did wrong or expressing your disappointment in their play is NOT what they need to hear and will only serve to make a painful situation much worse.

Aims of the Campaign

  • To eradicate aggressive and abusive behaviour form coaches, players and spectators.
  • To promote zero tolerance of defamatory comments or language, be it racial or discriminatory, towards referees, fellow players and other supporters.
  • To promote an environment for sportsmanship and fair play in underage sport.
  • To provide education to adults and young people on the importance of RESPECT and just letting the kids play.
  • To encourage safe participation for players and spectators.
  • To encourage coaches to observe, take notes and coach only when absolutely required.
  • To allow children's voices to be heard over adults voices.
  • To not get so emotionally involved with their child's sport.
  • To allow children make mistakes without being ridiculed.
  • To allow the children to make their own decisions, helping them learn the game in a natural manner.
  • To bring FUN back into the game.

Support and encouragement does NOT mean that you continually instruct from the sidelines. In fact, the WORST THING that you can do as a parent or coach is to “continually instruct” from the sidelines.

‘Let the kids play’

If you would like to support the campaign, you can sign up below, for further information email Antonio

We are also looking for sponsors to help expand the initiative.

Cell: +353872183837

Next Workshop: tbc

<strong>Next Silent Sideline:</strong> SEPTEMBER 2016
Sign Up for 2016