Coaching from the sidelines is something that does indeed vary from coach to coach. In my humble opinion the only coach who can sit for an entire match without saying anything either doesn't care about the game, is not interested in the game or he/she is petrified. That being said let me give you my perspective as a referee and then as a coach.
As a referee I tend to focus more on the players and my crew rather than coaches. I find games much more enjoyable where coaches let their players play and enjoy the game- even at the most competitive levels. A coach that is constantly yapping does not convey any useful feedback so I tend to take those comments with a grain of salt (most likely they are ignored). A coach that is constantly yelling from the sidelines will get tuned out by his players, I have even heard players say "I wish he would shut up". A coach who does minimal coaching from the sidelines will get my attention a little more that coach chatty. The reason is that if he noticed something and spoke up there might be something there. This makes me think about those situations and notice my officiating- to see if he is correct in his observations or just venting. A little note for coaches- Referees are not the enemy, if heaps of abuse and verbal guano are dumped on us you will end up with NO REFS.
As a coach, my general rule for sideline coaching is if I can't teach topics in a week of practice then I should not expect to teach them in an hour or hour and a half during a game. At the house level my main concern is that my players enjoy the game as much as I do. When the game is on and I have to make a coaching point it is only after some topic/ situation has happened for a third or fourth time. I would rather have the player solve the problem during the game. I also let my players know if you need my help look to the bench- I got your back. I try to keep coaching at a minimum and info is given to players during pauses or when they are away from point of attack or defense- our restarts are perfect. Another great time for a quick correction is after a player's shift and a quick sip of water have the player stand next to you and prepare for his next shift- a short concise point of refinement or comment on the play. If a coach is constantly correcting every situation his players will get frustrated with the game and they will tune out. Coach Talks-a- heap will then say "why do my players lose focus". They don't coach, they are eliminating distractions to their play which your constant corrections - even those well meant and positively given- have become.
Some of the guidelines I use for select level and higher are If I can't teach a topic in a week of practice them I should not expect to teach them in an hour or hour and a half game. My main concern is that the players enjoy the game as much as I do (Deja Vu). At higher levels of play and intensity there is no way I can sit perfectly calm and quiet- that is why I carry a clipboard and pencil. When I feel the urge to make comments I write it down first then I don't have time to say it. I want my players to solve situations before coming to me during the game. If a player wants my help- look to the bench, I am usually standing near the end ready to give some info- I got your back. If I am making comments during the game they are quick and to the point, usually when the ball is not in play or when the player is away from the point of attack/defense. Even though these games can be intense, constant coaching from the sideline can dump a lot of a coaches intensity on the players which they don't need and may resent. In this situation Coach Blow Torch will say "why don't these guys get it- they obviously are not up for the game". More
likely than not they have tuned you out coach and are starting to rebel against your constant intrusion -even though well meant- into their play. On the other side a coach who is totally silent may confer a lack of interest to these players- this will make coaching points and adjustments harder for a coach to sell to these players. Coaches OWN halftime here is where we give the most feedback, adjustments and points of refinement. Again be concise and connect with the players- you only have six or seven minutes after the players come off the field and hydrate. Prepare for the second half of the game and please don't nag players.
Lastly, players want to play and perform as best as they can. Try to find a minimal happy median for verbal feedback during a match. Somewhere we as coaches need to let our players know that we want to enjoy their performance. I try to give some parameters of this peak performance to my players through my coaching. My best tools (during a game) to observe this are my eyes to see situations, the old brain to sort the data and make refinements and adjustments and my ears to hear if my verbal participation is taking away from or enhancing my players performance and of course a laugh or smile to let my team know that I get a lot of fun watching them play ( sounds corny but it is true).
FUNdamental Instructional Staff