MLU 6 Goal Rule of Thumb
Coaching children is an honor and a privilege that carries with it a moral responsibility to contribute to the healthy character development of young players. Sportsmanship has always been, and will continue to be one of the most important parts of our mission here at MLU. Players who practice good sportsmanship are more likely to carry the respect and appreciation of other people into every other aspect of life.
How do we as coaches stress the importance of good sportsmanship and ultimately pass it along to our players and their parents? Coaches who equate “trying your best” as the definition of success – and who value, expect, and demand good sportsmanship from their players – help shape the moral, ethical, and spiritual character of their players. This includes respecting team members, opponents, coaches, and officials; always stressing polite behaviors such as helping an opponent up off the ground and shaking hands before and after a match.
Let’s focus our attention on player development, and praise them as their individual skills improve. This will allow your players to see themselves as winners, regardless of the score at the end of a match. It is also very important that we applaud good play, regardless of the team, and accept bad calls made by the referee(s) gracefully. Remember, at the end of the day, this is supposed to be FUN. You and the team parents should be able to enjoy the game of soccer, while realizing all the benefits these children are gaining.
One of the ways to encourage good sportsmanship is to keep one team from out-scoring their opponent to the extent it is considered unsportsmanlike. More than a 6 goal differential should be considered unsportsmanlike in Recreation soccer, and MLU travel teams should adhere to the same rule of thumb in league games, friendlies and tournament games.
We can’t control what our opponents do, and in the heat of the competition, you should shy away from addressing the other coach when they are running up the score. If you feel like you are in a game where your opponent is not following the same Sportsmanship guidelines, you should ask for the referee, request that she/he speak with the opponents’ coach about easing up on the amount of goals scored.
Here are a few coaching suggestions if you ever find yourself on the winning side in the middle of a lopsided match, where the ‘Six Goal Rule’ is at risk of being broken:
1. Move players into different positions (example: move your leading scorer into the goal and/or put your offensive players in the back and move your defenders forward)
2. Challenge your players by requiring them to shoot with their weaker foot (develops the weaker side) by only allowing them to shoot when the ball comes from a cross (emphasizes team width)
3. Put players on a touch-restriction (limiting touches requires player to concentrate on their first touch and then get their head up to find passing options)
4. Require your team to connect a certain number of consecutive passes before a shot can be taken (requiring movement off the ball)
5. Playing with fewer players on the field.
6. Have your players carry the ball into the offensive corner arc, play it back past midfield, and go to the other offensive corner arc for a ‘TEAM GOAL’. Don’t celebrate these goals, but keep track so that you can address them with praise, after the game.
These are only a few suggestions of how you can challenge your players in the unfortunate event of a lopsided game, without running up the score.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns: