I really like the idea of the respect line that the English Football Association has recommended clubs use to keep parents and supporters at bay during youth matches. It is a line that gives parents a clear and visual guide as to where they should be standing when a match is being played. MORE
The coaching point is FUN
One of the toughest things about the start of any new season is all of the shenanigans that accompany it: the endless organisation and the paperwork that piles higher and higher if no one deals with it. I’m lucky there are people at my club to help with that side of things, but the start of training sessions is alien to some parents and they have question after question.
This season has been more hectic than normal as I am coaching a new team. None of the parents know me very well and despite a number of meetings there are always questions they want answered.
With all the hot weather we have had during the summer, it has brought the parents out in droves, with the mums keen to top up their tans on the side of the pitch. With all of the additional questions and no helpers I turned to two of the players and asked them to set up a game themselves – after all, full training hadn’t started yet and I am always keen to see what players can do when given a bit of freedom.
Needless to say the players loved picking the teams themselves and creating a game. They enjoy self-chosen and self-directed play. This is something they have worked out for themselves and something they are doing for fun rather than something they are doing to get an outcome.
It’s funny, too, how natural leaders – even at 11 and 12 years old – come to the fore and start directing play. But even though more than one of them helped organise the game, I noticed that they managed to sort it out because they wanted to make the most of the time they had. They didn’t argue, they just got on and got it going.
And I noticed too that, because the goals were too big, it was making the game to easy to score, so they changed the size of them – just like a good coach. It made perfect sense to them as they wanted a competitive game.
It is also great to spy on the players when they think I am occupied, to see how creative and adventurous they are.
This is great to see because I realise exactly how much they love the game and if they can put that much effort into doing something while I talk to their parents, it makes me a very happy coach indeed. And once I finished speaking to the parents, the players were keen to tell me of their exploits, so who needs a coach!