There Is No “I” In Team

there is no i in team


This is one of the most common sport sayings appropriate at any level of Soccer: Its not just about you, it’s all about teamwork, however once on the field that sometimes is lost…

Becoming an amazing player would be great, but can you get there on your own and without communication with your teammates on the field?


A team that doesn’t talk to one another isn’t a team at all, just a group of individuals. Open lines of communication with other players on the team should make the game easier for all, and as the coach of the team it’s your responsibility to express how important this aspecat of the game really is.

I find that teams who do communicate with each other find it easier to express themselves, share ideas openly and honestly, and in turn find it easier to accept criticism and deal with it.

Team players are never afraid to speak their mind both on and off the pitch and also remain respectful and positive while carrying out the communication.  So what are the advantages of good communication?  Teams inevitably come across problems on the pitch, coming through and solving these is absolutely crucial to maintain performance and team spirit, so the communication part is of paramount importance to help find solutions which in turn helps teams to operate better on the pitch.

So in a nutshell the team which communicates effectively, plays better and deals with problems as they arise. The team who communicates less will not have the foundational skills to meet any on field issues head on, and find a reasonable outcome.

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Remember, communication has to be a two way street, so offering any thoughts on progression or how players are playing from the individual has to be met with communication coming back, so in essence every player has just the same right to speak as you, so if your happy to dish it out be prepared to receive it back. As a player who advocates a team ethos at all times you need to listen to what other players or coaches have to say as their thoughts are equally as valid.

This all adds to the positivity that will run through the squad, however, if there are only one or two players or individuals taking charge, shouting over others and failing to take feedback will fill your team with negativity and therefore makes it far less enjoyable.

As a team you are likely to spend a considerable amount of time together over a season and it certainly fits better to get along with each other. Communication and reasoning helps to achieve this, however, not everyone is going to see eye to eye, the coach should look at organizing off field activities when possible or introduce team building activities within sessions.

When on the field, it’s about putting the team’s game plan into action.  Teams aren’t built on individual players, they are built upon the players cooperation and a willingness to work together and communicate.  A soccer team that communicates well and allows all individuals to have their say can certainly be a successful one.

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Communication on the pitch is not only verbal but also non verbal.  Non verbal communication can have a vital role; hand signals ( set pieces ) and other gesture have become a big part of the game in recent years. Direction from soccer coaches before taking to the field example, 4-4-2 isn’t working so the coach might have said before you go out, “If I say change in the early stages of the game we switch to a 4-3-3,” without giving the opposition any indication that the change is indeed being made.

Players can be gifted with their ball playing skills, yet fail miserably with communicating.  This can have an impact on their ability to express what information they give their teammates. These very same players, because of their alleged ability, expect the same level of play from the weaker players so when the ball goes astray or it’s a bad pass they get frustrated and call out negatively which highlights the need for positive communication between everyone on the field. Negative communication gives out the wrong signal and de-motivates other players in the team.

Quite often players suffer from low confidence and this manifests itself in their ability to talk on the pitch.  Therefore, it’s imperative for the coach to identify this as early as possible and encourage the players to use their voices. Keep giving encouragement and incorporate drills within your session that focus on communication.

Communication on the field can be broken down to the various phases of play, both in defending and attacking. Players need to understand positions and the tactics required for these so communication with the coach at the outset and then on the field with other players becomes key.

Communication is the responsibility of every player not just the captain or goalkeeper, everyone needs to be able to do it on the pitch as if they are the leader and have awareness of where they need to be within the structure of that team.


You are basically reliant on communication, from training to the game.  

As a coach you need to train your players to be active, responsive and willing to carry out the instructions you give them and to achieve that as a team unit out on the field..

It isn’t just about that individual match winner ( although he can be the difference ) its about the coach and team as a whole and how effectively they communicate with each other over a full season.

Share your thoughts about the issues with your teams communication in the comments section below…

Article By: Brian Sproul
UEFA A license accredited coach with over 12 years’ experience coaching at Professional club academies in the UK. Formerly Raith Rovers & St Mirren FC and now Currently coaching with Kilmarnock FC

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