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Question Number: 29656

The Technical Area 9/3/2015

RE: HS, Youth, Adult Other

Den Nelson of Auburn, IN USA asks...

What is the ruling on a Coach screaming at the top of his lungs 'instructions' to his HS Girls Varsity Team while they are playing?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Dan,
I suspect a loud screaming coach that is constantly offering (sage advice?) appropriate to his minions on the field, will have a lot to do with content?
If he resides within the technical area, his advice is tactical and appropriate for the situations, even if a bit overbearing on our eardrums, not sure referee intervention is required. That said I have spoken to screraming parents or want to be coaches inside occasionally ,but mostly outside their technical areas as their very loud outbursts, physically affect the players from BOTH teams to the point where play is halted for a simple LET IT GO ! screamed so loud players from both teams near jumped into my lap at the unexpected screaming while in pursuit of a ball moving along the touchlines. Sometimes overenthusiastic parents or even coaches who mean well seeking to encourage can adversely affect the match. In these cases, a |Hey guy you seem like a great supporter but you are scaring these kids to the point where it is affecting all the players on the field, how about dialing it down a notch ok?
I will say if the screaming is demeaning or abusive it is the CONTENT whichh I will object to and put a stop to! Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Unless the coaching is done outside the technical area or during an injury there is no infraction. We might not like it yet we just have to grin and bear it.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Is it really an instruction? If so, ignore it. The school administrator can address whether the coach's actions do not reflect well upon the school. In my experience, the high school players and their parents will address with the school administrators any questionable behavior by the coach. (My son's high school once changed a head coach when the school president happened to walk by the field and heard what was being said.)

But, sometimes 'instruction' is a form of dissent, is taunting or disrespectful to the opponents or otherwise unacceptable behavior from the touchline (e.g., a direction to break the person's leg the next time they try that). The referee cannot and should not allow that the coach to challenge the referee's authority or to endanger the safety of the players. High school rules give the referee a wide range of tools from warning, to a formal caution, to disqualification.

But, Coaches coach. Referees ref. Neither should do the other's job.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


The ruling is that it is legal. As long as no electronic device is used to communicate with the team and the coach is giving instructions to the team and is remaining in the team area, there is no violation of the rules.

I hope that you have a successful high school season.

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