No one likes getting yelled at—even referees, who tend to be on the receiving end of many angry words. As a referee, it can be tempting to tune out the coaches, especially if the yelling is continuous or you don’t think it applies to you. After all, yelling at you isn’t going to make the soccer game go any differently, and yelling might even impede your performance. So why is it that some coaches start yelling? We have some ideas that can help you with your soccer referee training for dealing with problem coaches.

It’s Just Their Style

Believe it or not, there are coaches that never yell. However, some of them will yell at their own players to criticize mistakes, give instructions, praise them, or make other comments. Some coaches will even yell at referees like they would their players. It’s not necessarily true that when a coach raises their voice that they’re yelling at or even criticizing you: it could be that they yell because they feel like they need to be heard from across the field. You don’t need to take every yelled comment as a criticism because it might not have anything to do with you at all.

They Missed What Happened

Just like you, the coach is human and can miss something that happens on the field. They could have been addressing something else and missed what you blew the whistle on. While they were talking to their assistant coaches or substitutes about something, they could have missed a player getting injured or simply what happened on the field. This doesn’t mean they’re mad: they just want clarification.

They Want to Talk About What Happened

The important thing for you to remember is that you can’t be defensive: assume that the coach just wants to talk unless they do something that proves otherwise. It’s possible that the coach wants to get your attention so that they can talk about what happened with you in more detail so you can both approach the matter in a mature, respectful way. Don’t assume that the coach is incompetent or arrogant unless they do something to prove it, and they’ll likely give you the same respect.

What Should I Do if a Coach Yells?

Not every yell is criticism, or at least not a criticism of your performance. With some training and practice on the field, it will become easier for you to tell the difference between a coach that’s trying to communicate, one that’s passionate or manipulative and will back down if you point out their behavior and give them a warning, and those coaches that are truly out of control.

When a coach is starting to get unreasonable, it’s time to take action before it gets worse. After the first incident, politely assert your authority as a soccer referee: you are in charge of maintaining control of the match, and they are in charge of managing and supporting their players. Communicate clearly to coaches, players, parents, and spectators alike in order to solve problems. Put “Ask, Caution, Dismiss” into action for uncalled for behavior, and stick with the system while remaining as calm and respectful as you can.

Soccer Referee Training with ArbiterSports

Only experience can tell you what coaches mean when they yell at you. For everything else about your soccer referee training, though, ArbiterSports has tools to help. Whether you’re a veteran that needs to brush up on your rules or any new changes or a new referee looking to add as much to your rules knowledge as possible, the ArbiterSports suite can provide you with the resources you need. For more information on what we can arm you with to help you train, or a demo of what we have to offer, contact us at 800.576.2799 or email