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Half Time Break


The half-time break is the one chance coaches have to impact the game significantly. Closely observe the first half of play so that you are familiar with all aspects of the game: the field, the weather, the referees, the opponent, and your own team.


The temptation is great to say too much during this critical break. There is much to accomplish in a very short time, don’t muddle it all by lengthy lectures. You will not be able to teach players new habits, or break them of old ones, during half time. Remember, the half time interval is foremost a break for the players.


The following are a few tips for maximizing the usefulness of the interval.


Be prepared. Having carefully observed and analyzed the first half, know precisely what you will say. Be brief, don’t ramble. Don’t be caught off guard, know exactly when half-time is coming, know where you will take the team.


Allow for rest. Get the players quickly away from the bench, parents and spectators. Get them off there feet and out of the elements, if possible. Try to make them comfortable.


Allow for player discussion. Players will be excited, allow them the opportunity to blow steam or congratulate each other, etc. Give them a few moments of their own.


Water. The universal elixir. Make sure that all players get plenty of water. Avoid soda completely. Dilute sports drinks with water.


Assess any injuries. Take a moment to examine recent injuries, ask about chronic injuries. Make adjustments as necessary.


Team adjustments. Keep it simple, keep it brief. A good guideline is to make one overall offensive and one defensive correction. Players can not handle too much instruction under the duress of playing. Never introduce new concepts at half-time.


Individual adjustments. In some situations it may be desirable to give individual instructions to certain players. Do this sparingly and only with those players who need it and are capable of processing the information.


Substitutions and alignment changes. The break is an ideal opportunity to make substitutions or to move players about on the field. Make sure your instructions are clear and that the proper number of players re-enter the field.


Calm them/excite them. A good rule of thumb is that the coach’s job is in part to calm down those players who are over-excited and to excite those players who are under-motivated. Use the moment prior to re-entering the field to get your team and the individual players in the proper frame of mind.

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