Stop joystick coaching your kids

Parents yelling instructions from the sidelines need to go

Mike Holden
3 min readOct 20, 2023

Thoughts from the soccer sidelines on a Saturday morning.

Things that are not joystick coaching:
- “Great play!”
- “Nice save!”
- “Keep it up!”

Things that are:
- “Move up! You’re offense!”
- “Pass it!! Pass the ball!”
- “That’s you! Step up!!”

Parents think they’re helping when they yell things from that second set of bullet points but it just causes confusion. Google “joystick coaching.”

Your kid needs to hear their coach and make game decisions on their own, not with you in their ear the whole game. The rest of the kids hear your yelling too and get confused.

You can’t sideline coach them at school or when they get a job, so don’t do it in youth sports. Prepare them for a life where you won’t be always be there.

I don’t see a lot of dads and moms yelling out instructions in the World Cup.

Sideline instruction does the opposite of what you want it to do



Mike Holden

Marketing leader with 20 years of experience. Dad of 6. Get ideas in the No Budget Marketing newsletter.