A football match is a melange of sounds – shouts, screams, tackles, celebrations and of course, the whistle. But the most important of them all is your own voice. As much as you use your mind, body and your feet, it is important to use your voice as well to communicate effectively with your team mates. Otherwise you might as well be playing the game on your own!
And that isn’t as much fun.
What I have seen, however is how the lack of proper communication can put your teammates in difficult situations, especially when all you need is a simple shout to open up that gap or cover the overlapping fullback. On the flipside, however, a wrongly timed shout can be very distracting and lead to loss of possession or worse, concession of goals.
So what is communication? How do you communicate properly?
In my opinion, communication is the effective use of words, gestures and eye contact that enables you and your teammates to organize yourself and your team better with or without the ball.
The communication habits of most players are poor for one of two reasons – they don’t talk enough or they don’t talk smart.
For example, when a player wants a ball, they tend to keep shouting the name of the teammate who has the ball rather than communicate what it is that they want. Something as simple as, “Play it down the line” can help. The player on the ball is in all probability been hounded, and that sort of communication can save him that vital additional seconds of looking up and assessing the options.
He can now play the ball as he knows a run will be made.
It is vital to let your teammate know that you are there to receive the ball. Human beings do not have 360 degree vision, which probably means that they might not be able to see exactly where you are all the time. This is why you need to talk constantly.
That brings me to my second point – when you talk to your teammates, speak in clear, concise words, phrases and sentences. Talk to the person on the ball as if he is blindfolded and is completely dependent upon you.
For Example, Consider the case where Hardik (a fictitious character who has no existence outside this article) is carrying the ball and an opponent is hounding him, what I normally see is most of the teammates scream his name “Hardik, Hardik,… ”.
Let’s analyse the situation from Hardik’s boots. Apart from pressure created by all the noise, the only help he is offered is 6 teammates shouting his name from 6 different directions. Hardik already knows his name. What he needs right now is some useful information that will help him take the right decision. He needs a teammate to communicate, and something like, “Drop it to GG” ,“Cross left”,” Turn right”. That’s the kind of information he can actually use.
It is vital to convey what you see to your teammates to help give them a better picture of what is around them.