Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Australian sideline threw me off my game

The Canadian Jr. Open team had three losses at worlds. Two were to the eventual winner, U.S.A., and we lost to Australia in pool play. As the weeks go bye it becomes more vague how that last game progressed, but I clearly remember them jumping out to a lead, and us never being able to claw back. We made runs, but couldn't put it all together.

Pictured Above: Cam Harris in the foreground warming up.

What I also remember is their sideline. For the first time in a long time I was thrown off my own sideline game, and that's one of my perceived strengths. I'm sure it had no real affect on the result of the game, but it was interesting to notice, nonetheless.

So what did they do? Was it a brilliant strategy of sideline influence that I've never seen before?

They yelled constantly. They yelled constantly. THEY YELLED CONSTANTLY, and unless the guys were trained to filter out very specific commands, they yelled constantly without the purpose of helping their teammates. The Australian sideline was so loud that our own guys either yelled even louder or shied away from helping on the sideline. It was the type of random noise that can disorientate you (or maybe my sugar was low).

Some coaches, like my past self, might think that just yelling is a bad plan. It confuses the players on the field and provides no useful information. Then, you think of being a player on the field, and you realize how much of the external sounds you can filter out. I know that when I'm on the field I get a few cues from voices that I trust and have heard for many games. Therefore, yelling randomly and non-stop is great tactic if your team is prepared. You sacrifice your own sideline information at the benefit of throwing off an opponent that heavily relies on a sideline.

I'm not sure that was Australia's intention, as their coach was running up and down the sideline trying to communicate to his guys, but you never know. Maybe I'll have to adopt the amplifying cones that Japanese Jr. Women coach and the GB Women's team were using to direct the sound. Is it the counter to random loud yelling?



PiersTruter said...

Hey there,

This is the coach of that team. It always interests me how difficult it can be for English speakers to understand the Australian accent. How quickly sideline input becomes random yelling. Something to think about for future campaigns.

It is also interesting how in the heat of a game how much a player can filter out. As a coach I find that often the only effective yelling is to call the players name. :-)

To make it clear - it was never our intention to put the other team off.

All the best

Piers Truter
Head Coach
Australian open juniors

Jeters said...

I hope I didn't give the impression that this was bad in anyway. I appreciated the tactic regardless if it was intended or not.