Ossining AYSO: Silent Sundays

This anecdote was excerpted from the "Now What?" section of AYSO's weekly "Hey Coach" email newsletter, and we felt re-posting it here might help to enlighten everyone on what "Silent Sidelines" is really supposed to be about as well as give our coaches ideas on helping their parents also understand what it's about.

 "My Region has decided to implement Silent Saturdays as a way to reduce the loud noise on the sidelines and parents are upset! They think their children enjoy the loud sideline noise and cheering. They don’t understand how Silent Saturdays helps the kids. Now What?"

Answer: Silent Saturdays were designed to eliminate the epidemic of parents and coaches yelling instructions from the sidelines. An easy analogy is if you were in the middle of a task, would it help to have someone screaming at you and telling you what to do? No, so why is this acceptable on a soccer field? Parents need to understand the spirit of Silent Saturdays, which is to allow players to make decisions and learn the game. After all if the child doesn't make their own mistakes, it will hinder their development in the sport. If parents think their children are confused and don’t know what to do without sideline instruction, that's an indication that players haven't been allowed to make their own decisions. Players will learn the game by making their own decisions, learning from their mistakes and continuing to play.

Watch this video of Scott Gimple, AYSO's Deputy Executive Director, discuss the benefits of having a Silent Saturday. This interview was featured on the Hallmark Channel and talks about best practices, why screaming from the sidelines is bad for player development and what to do when all of this becomes unmanageable. Consider sharing this video with families during your kick-off meeting or as needed when sideline behavior becomes an issue.

Goals of Silent Sidelines (formerly referred to as "Silent Sunday")

1.  To emphasize that soccer is a "players' game".
2.  To permit players to talk to each other on the field, free of sideline distractions.
3.  To foster independent thinking of our players, letting the game be their teacher.
4.  To support our referees by eliminating sideline interference and discussion.


1.  Please limit your coaching instructions to a minimum, shouting out tactical instructions only when absolutely necessary.  For this day, let the players make their own decisions.  Speak privately to individual players on the sidelines.  During breaks, communicate key areas of focus to team.


Have fun and enjoy the freedom.  Talk to your teammates on the field.
Never yell at teammates or referees on the field, and never criticize the performance of either.



Avoid comments that can be heard by the players, referees, or opponents.  When a goal is scored, please subdue your reaction to low-key applause.


We hope this weekend gives you a pleasant refereeing experience, without any critical commentary from players, spectators, or coaches.  You should be free to concentrate on executing a fair game.

Do not penalize for non-compliance, but give reminders during breaks if necessary.


This is a voluntary program.  This is a chance to see things differently, reflect on our actions, and come back to contribute in a new positive way.

Before the start of every Ossining AYSO home game, both coaches should remind their parents of Silent Sidlines, and the referee should remind all players.  If you are playing an out of town team, please pass on this information when you touch base with them mid-week before your game, and remind them on game day.

We hope that coaches, referees, players, and spectators will extract cooperation from their peers.

It's all up to us ... let's do it!!!!