To Improve Participation – Positive Learning & Development in youth sports but mainly youth soccer.
Looking at all the ways for coaches to help young children on the road to a lifelong involvement in sport and physical activity. I want to create a ripple effect. My goal is to push for the restructuring of the small side games in Ireland and making it age appropriate, with non competition sport (where winning is ok, as long as its the kids that want to win) change the ball sizes (weight) so we adapt the game to the children that play. Get the adults thinking about development, play, fun and remove winning at all costs attitude (leave that to the kids). Education is powerful and the answer to most of our problems we encounter each and every weekend across children’s sports fields. We need to adapt to the child.
Basically get everyone involved within the game singing from the same hymn sheet. Change the mindset from winning at all costs to fun and player focused age specific learning.
The Coach Diary
Is looking to assist coaches, parents, administrators, officials and anyone interested in coaching kids throughout Ireland and abroad, by providing them with content that can change the way we coach today.
“Kids don’t need the competitive element we see from adults for the benefit of adults, they are competitive already. Kids need football for kids, which should be fun and age appropriate. We are here to facilitate their needs, after all, this is a recreational sport for kids, played by kids.” tweet
Football and sport is not about winning at all costs (at the younger ages) and should be more about, participation, doing you best, having fun and learning the FUNdamentals of the game (especially at a young age).
With more and more adult involvement this has made the game over competitive. Administrators need to take a step back and look at whats gone wrong…. ask the kids what they need and want? We have a big problem in Ireland, where the adults want to win more then the kids themselves, this attitude needs to change and one way of doing this is educating the people involved with youth sports. Educating them on how children learn and want to learn.
I believe that as coaches we can teach the kids so much more than just winning. We should be focusing on developing players technique, game intelligence and life lessons through sport. It’s about giving the children control of their game. We can make them mentally tough by teaching them to focus on effort rather than result.
Is to try and get coaches thinking more about the technical side of the game, about PLAYER development and a little less about tactics to win or just winning all the time, particularly at a younger age (SSG). It is up to the governing bodies that facilitate the sport to lead by example and implement better coaching standards, better structures and teaching for everyone involved.
“It’s time to give the game back to the kids” tweet
I will continue to campaign for change that has the kids best interest at heart, I’m here representing them. Scrap league tables until u13s – continue with the 3v3s, 5v5s (In Academies until u8s) and 7v7s game during the non competition stage – move to 11v11 at u13, u14s were possible (on smaller pitches) or u14s on normal size and introduce competitive league structures after..! The age for learning the FUNdamentals of the game, should be about learning through play not through work.
When you’re focused on winning, even with a group of 8-year-olds, you tend to focus on different things. You focus on gaining tactical advantages rather than emphasising the development of the players. And when you’re focused on tactics, it makes more sense to focus on players staying in specific positions. this prevents players from learning the game in different positions.
- I will continue to support for the introduction of Futsal across the country during winter at least.
- U8s and U9s should not be travelling long distance to play 30 minutes of football.
- Club should be organising in-house blitz over several hours were everyone get lots of football.
- Invite local clubs to attend.
Review how we separate the best from the rest, Elite grading at age 7, 8, and 9 should not be happening. We also have elite leagues, which is also not good for player development at the younger ages as it focus on winning to develop instead of developing to win. The fact is, that there are usually only a few children in every age group, especially at youngest ages, who are noticeably more skilled than the rest. We should not evaluate a 7 and 8 or even a 9 year old on previous team placements to figure out where these children belong at u10s etc. Each year should be a clean slate. Based on research, I suggest no elite football until at least u13s and children should be coached in mixed group teaching until at least u12s. Mixing the early developers with the late ones. Elitism should not begin until teenage years.
“We must not forget the late “bloomers” some of which have gone further then the so called best. Kids at the youngest ages should be playing together not segregated”. tweet
- To promote participation and positive learning.
- To promote better relationships with coaches.
- To promote coaching values.
- To promote age related competitions and coaching.
- To exchange knowledge and run workshops in the field of coaching and parenting in sports.
- To promote a moral code in coaching.
- To promote child welfare in youth sports.
- To improve relationships among Coach – Management – Players – Parents.
- To provide information in the field of coaching education and parenting.
- To encourage and to assist in the field of coach education.
“No child should be told he/she can’t play football, football or soccer as we know it now is their game and every child in every part of the world should never be told he/she is not good enough to play”. tweet
Remember the Kids are the customers and it’s our job to keep the customer happy!
“Play, Try, Grow and Improve” tweet
As with everything in life, as you learn more and find out more, your views can change. Mine have changed since I started this blog back in 2010 but the focus has always been the same; to improve the experience for every child that participates.
I’ve learnt to work with the players I have and try to improve them. I try not to judge so soon and focus on development. I ask myself, ‘how can I improve them?’ Everyone on this team can be improved. TCD tweet
At the end of the day, whether we like to believe it or not we are a recreational football nation with a professional international team. It’s what we do down at Grassroots ‘worms eye view’ that will ultimately be the basis of what we produce at the top. The partway that makes the best 8 year old is not related to the pathway that makes the best 20 year old.
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