No media presentation of sport would be complete without the “expert panel” which encourages debate and generally raises interest in the game with their analysis. I once met a Coach who expressed the opinion that 95% of people who talk about soccer have not got a clue about the game.
Match analysis is now a buzz word but have we taken it too far in that we are now applying professional expectations on young children with far too much emphasis on winning. I’m sure many of you will have experienced the lunatic spectator ffing and blinding at the referee while screaming all sorts of instructions to the team. In my experience good players generally make good decisions while poor ones will make poor ones. But the reality is that we have to encourage players to make decisions for themselves.
Mistakes are an inevitable part of learning but is there too much emphasis on “mistakes” as any idiot can identify a missed chance or a poor pass. Research indicates that one of the greatest predictors of stress in children’s sport is the child’s perception of how important winning is to adults and this has also been identified as a reason for children give up sport. Spare a thought also for the poor child whose parent or parents are the lunatic on the line. While children love their parents generally, it does not stop them from being embarrassed by their behaviour. But then again “Johnny” is only seven so what can he do about it. Children may be children but don’t make the fatal mistake of thinking they have no brains. The unfortunate thing is that we don’t associate power with a seven year old but it’s a different proposition when they reach twelve and decide to make decisions for themselves.
So in conclusion, while we all accept the positive input of participating in sport for children should we not concentrate on eradicating behaviours that negatively impact on their enjoyment of the game and promote behaviours and practice that enhance their experiences. In terms of silent sideline, I sincerely hope that the children are prepared as the shock may be too much for them! 🙂
Just to remind everyone that Children First legislation is to be brought to cabinet in the next four weeks.
Article is written by Michael Lynam (Child Protection Consultant). Michael is available to deliver Child Protection Workshops. You can contact him at Tel. 015516657 or Mobile. 083 1464566
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