Coach Talk with John McFadden

Jul 18, 10 Coach Talk with John McFadden

Hi Antonio,

I am a grassroots coach and also a youth worker working in the dublin area.  While i am myself naturally competitive I see the damage competitive coaches and competitive football is having on the development of the game in this country every week.

I have been privately ranting about this for years now but like yourself I have recently decided to try to campaign for change.

Initially I spoke with my own club secretary and local league representatives, who reported that they had experimented with rule changes previously but had been unsuccessful as many of the teams emigrated outside the county borders to join other leagues.  Consequently, the only way to bring in a successful change would be to have it legislated at national level so I have been trying to contact the SFAI chairman (Michael O’ Brien?). So far he has not replied to either of my emails.

I should say I heard you speaking on newstalk and was delighted to hear someone speak so passionately on this issue. I think your website is a great idea and wonder if it could be used to set up a national forum of grassroots coaches who could unite and campaign for change.  I can only assume that there are hundreds of like minded coaches out there, however I would imagine any campaign for change could only be strengthened by bringing this support group together, perhaps identify some people with useful skills.
I’m glad to hear that about the site on the radio, I really do foresee it as the perfect opportunity to mobilise a community of likeminded coaches.  I have no problem at all with you posting my mail to the blog.  like i said, I’ve been moaning to friends and anyone who’d listen about this for years now and have plenty to say on the matter.

I coach with a club called Bay FC, playing in the Dundalk Schoolboys League.  I’ve done the kickstart 1 and 2 and though I think there is much value in these for coaches I really would like to see more work done by clubs to eliminate the bad attitudes spreading from coaches to players, regarding refs, rules, winning, technical development and in general making teams matches and training inclusive and enjoyable!

I have seen many good people and decent players completely turned away from the sport by this mis-management, on my own team as well as others.

I would very much like to maintain communications and I assure you, you have my full support for everything you are doing.

Take care and best of luck,

John McFadden from Bay FC

My Reply

Thanks for the email and I’m delighted to have another coach on board. Like you I am competitive, but only because I have to be, otherwise there would be no point in being a league I guess. Being competitive is ok once, you don’t want to win more then the kids themselves. Over the last few months I have totally changed my philosophy on coaching and how I communicate with the kids. If the league was non competitive I could focus solely on player development but the leagues system makes the focus about winning. I’m trying stay to my new found beliefs of concentrating on technique, technique, technique. I think coaches would interact more and the game would be a lot friendlier, if we got rid of the competitive leagues at under age. We are missing out on developing our young players because of competitive leagues in Ireland.

I’m currently redoing my site so I can push forward with this campaign, focusing on age appropriate games and player development at the youngest, our kids should not be playing the adult 11v11 game until at least u13s.

Thanks for your comment John

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