The half time communication is a vital aspect of your role as a coach / manager.
In this 15 minute period, you must communicate effectively with individual players, the complete team and your staff. You must also provide clarity of plan for the second half and create the right mindset within the group.
See below for some advice and tips.
“Don’t commentate on what just happened, speak about what is to come in the 2nd half and what is needed to be successful”
1. Manage your time effectively
You have 15 minutes, but that is not a test of seeing if you can talk constantly for 15 minutes, it’s just the break between the two periods of the game.
You lose 90 seconds returning to the changing room and need roughly the same to return to the pitch for the second half. So your time is already reduced to around 12 minutes.
“Planning of this time and planning of your communication (and who is going to communicate) is essential to getting your messages across effectively”
2. Cut your time into three.
A – Speak to your assistants and gather your thoughts and emotions
What was the game plan?
What is the state of the game?
What is coming in the second half?
What messages do you need to send to individuals / the whole team?
Is it a technical, tactical or psychological message (or combination)?
Has the team been in this situation before?
Does that provide you with prior experience or knowledge for success?
“The coach of your opponents will also react to the first half of the game.
If you are familiar with the opposing coach, or you understand their mentality, you can often make a good judgement on the changes they will make in tactics or personnel for the second half (or during the 2nd half).
This is something for you and your staff to consider “
During this initial period, the players will be speaking amongst each other, the physios will be checking on the players for any issues and the players will also be gathering their personal thoughts and taking on drinks etc.
Now you have gathered your own thoughts and the opinions of your close staff. You are ready to communicate to the players.
B – Speak to individuals.
Offer clarity to individuals in your team. Be clear on what is required and what you would like them to do. Involve other players that are (1) positionally attached to this player (2) who are in a position to support them in the field or (3) will be the direct player to benefit from the player doing their tasks in the game well.
“Link the messages back to training or something that gives the player confidence”
C – Speak to the group.
What is the message you want to send to your players ?
“Be clear – if we do this……… Then this will happen……..”
Try to stick to 2-3 key aspects that are essential to the teams play or mentality. Don’t get caught up discussing small and minor things.
Examples might be
- Referencing back to your initial game plan
- The current state of the game
- Changes in emotion, game state, weather or environment.
- Who are your match winners?
- How can they influence the match?
- How do you get them on the ball?
- How might your team score? (Paint this picture in the players minds)
- Who are their danger players?
- How do you deny them space and touches?
- How might they score?
- Who is the pressing victim?
Interact with the players and ask questions if you think this will aid the process and create buy in.
“Be mindful of your tone and your body language. This is very important, along with understanding different cultures and the make up of your team. If you speak the native language of your players – use it when communicating to them personally to ensure they understand the message 100%”
Parts 2b & 2c can be done as one communication that everyone is able to hear and take onboard – or by – separating and speaking to individuals 1:1 – it can also be a mixture of both. The key is to understand your players and to understand what is required in that precise moment
“Always speak with optimism”
3. Use of staff
Don’t be a super human.
Use your staff and work as team.
Do you delegate individual feedback to a member(s) of your staff?
Example – manager (team communication) assistants (pick off individuals 1:1) GK coach (anything related to set plays)
Each coach taking on a different role in this process is also a good idea and stops players switching off to the ‘same’ voice.
“Try to create a way of communicating that the players are familiar with and continues throughout the season / period of time working together”
Below is a fantastic insight into Real Madrid’s half time communication during the Champions League Final in 2017.