Changes are Needed – Response to Future of Youth Football Proposals

I’ve just read the new proposals via @nlevett on Twitter and I have to say I am very impressed. If all these proposals are put through, grassroots football will change for the better.

However, there are two very big issues that need to be addressed no matter what changes are introduced. The first issue is the parents. No matter how many changes are made to the size of the pitches, goal posts or number of players in a team, the parents need to be educated or all of these proposals will not have the desired effect. Parents will ALWAYS have an influence on their children. Some parents will tell their kids they have to win and put unwanted and unnecessary pressure on young players. They receive praise and glory if they win and punishment if they don’t! Parents need to be informed why winning is not important for kids and how this unwanted pressure is leading to so many kids dropping out of the game they love. They also need to be informed of the effect some of their behaviour on a match day has on the players performance. Although the introduction of a pitch marshall could create a solution for the short term problems, educating parents and coaches about the effect of positive and negative contributions from the touchline would create a long term solution. 

The second big issue that needs to be dealt with is how new coaches are gaining experience. As soon as a coach gains his/her Level 1 badge, they are able to volunteer straight away. However, new coaches are usually given roles where they are coaching some of the most important years of a child’s development, with no experience or knowledge of how to coach players of that age (U7’s-U11’s). I believe that coaches that are experienced at teaching younger age groups should be given these roles. As a result, when volunteer coaches join to help out these younger age groups, they will receive guidance in the form of an experienced coach as a mentor. After a certain amount of time, the new coaches could then be given control of the coaching sessions with the experienced coach watching on and providing feedback after every session. This would also allow experienced coaches to inform new coaches of the importance of development over winning.

Overall, the changes that will hopefully be enforced are a positive movement towards improving the coaching and development of younger age groups and I hope they are put through.

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6 thoughts on “Changes are Needed – Response to Future of Youth Football Proposals

  1. I very much agree with ur comment about having a mentor for new coaches. The mentor can offer guidance/advice to the new coach. And I strongly believe as a coach, you should be constantly looking to improve by gaining more experience/education.

    • Agreed. You have to remember, some people only volunteer and don’t want to do it full time. They don’t have time to do the research that other coaches do.

      But I agree, if a coach wants to make it full time, they should be doing their own research.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Hi,

    It very much depends on the ethos of the club. We (CrosfieldsJFC) hold Soccer Parent meetings each summer where the expectations are set out – with regards to development, movement, touchline behaviour and so on.

    We also do the Mentoring idea – I start off the Under 5s each year and then pass on to a Head of Age who stays with the group as they get older – the minimum expectation is that they will be Level 1 and Youth Module 1. They (being more experienced and qualified) can then ‘oversee’ the parents who volunteer to coach within that age group.

    Check out my blog http://conesforgoalposts.wordpress.com/ and crosfieldsjfc.com for more info.

    all the best,
    Paul

    • Hi Paul,

      I was very impressed by your first blog post and especially impressed by the layout and organisation of your team’s website. I love the fact that you have a hub of information for your coaches and that you give them the forum to express any views they have. But I would also guess that you are one of only a few grassroots clubs that are organised this well.

      What was the reaction of the parents the first time you told them it’s not about winning?

      I want to discuss these changes with the chairman of my club so I would love to hear about the feedback you received.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Meron

  3. Well said to both coaches. Soon as I was passed the proposals I linked the file to all the parents of our U8s. Being responsible coaches, we’ve got to take the debate to the wider community.

    This question has intrigued me in the last year or so, since following Nick Levett on Twitter and his blog:-

    Is it because we want to affect change, that our opinions are only heard? What about the silent majority that I never hear about who want to stick with the old ways. Are we in the minority, here?

    I keep checking on Nick Levett’s blog and would love to see more followers and more debate there!

    • Hi Christopher,

      I would say that it doesn’t matter if we are the majority or minority, we have to spread our views around the coaching community. We need more debates like these and we need to follow up our debates with action.

      I will also keep checking Nick’s blog. It’s a good read 🙂

      Thanks for the comment,

      Meron

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