Stand on the sideline at the local park or play a game of sport, then be honest. At some point during the game you wondered what a player was thinking, and how you would have done it better. If that was me, would I have allowed that goal, or forced a penalty.

It’s said that sideline coaches cause more harm than good. How do we turn our disappointment at the missed opportunity into something more constructive for the player and team to hear? On the receiving end of such criticism it’s probably easier as you know how it felt as a player. Our opinion of what happened is surely different from the way the player or another supporter saw it. How do we turn the negative into a positive and get behind our team?

Put yourself in the coach’s shoes. A coach is there to lead, encourage and support the team. Fans often forget this fact. As a fan (whether we pay to see the game or not) we have invested just as much of our own time into supporting the team and have a right to voice our opinion. We want the best for our team; if the team wins, we win. Think back to the one moment that stands out, the one thing that made you so proud of that team you wanted to stand on the highest building and tell the world you are their biggest fan. Why did your team make you so proud by doing what they did?

Was it the training, how they played as a team, how they encouraged each other and were there for each other? What’s missing from this list? The thing that fans forget, but teams and players will tell you was first thing on their list. The sideline support.

When your team has an off day and just cannot seem to get it right, there’s something out of their control that can help. The encouragement from the sidelines can make that extra little bit of difference, especially where teams are evenly matched. As a sports fanatic I can tell you I have been to many a game where the noise and support from the crowd has left the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. It’s the most amazing feeling, and you cannot help but be lifted by the encouragement.

When next in the spectator’s chair, think before you rip into the players you are there to support. Ask yourself can you lift them across the line? You may not be the official team coach, but there’s a coach in all of us.

info: Supporters and coaches alike can follow any of Team Sydney’s member clubs. Take a look under the umbrella to view the diversity of our sporting community: www.teamsydney.org.au

info: by Billy Kennedy. Wally Salinger is on leave.

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