Pro Football Training is a development program for all players, we are not an academy whereby players progress into teams with the ultimate view of becoming a first team player. We run a program for players we have identified playing for their club/school teams who show great potential and love of the game and do our best to enhance this love and help them master their ability in order to hopefully one day realise their potential. To compliment this we run Holiday Clinics, Club Development Sessions, Team Development Sessions as well as working in various Schools and College’s around the Perth Metro area to help increase awareness of what we believe to be the best game in the World.
We are seeing more and more often players who lack self esteem, playing with fear, inhibited by their surroundings. The football pitch should be a player’s playground, a place that they can go to feel comfortable, friendly and inviting where they are encouraged to play with freedom and enjoyment. If we take this away from them by being negative and chasing results we are restricting their development, not only as young player but as a person.
Up to the age of 8 or 9 children play because they enjoy the feeling of running around with their friends and being active and not being top of the league or “clearing their lines” just in case the other team win the ball and heaven forbid scores a goal!
10 – 13 years of age involves the primary driver beings the social aspects, making new friends and being part of a social group who have a shared enjoyment. If they hear comments from the sidelines of “come on you can do better”, “don’t do that” this will have a negative effect as it shows them up and embarrasses them.
14 years of age to adulthood is when winning becomes the primary focus. More talented players will at this time move to different clubs to seek a winning culture and as adults we love competition and the performance of us as individuals and as a team the deciding factor in whether we have enjoyed the game is due to us playing well or our team winning.
Winning and Losing and personal performance conversations with young players is detrimental for their football development and will have a negative effect on them reaching their potential or not.
Questions we need to ask them after the game, in the car on the way home or over Sunday Lunch is:
– How much did you enjoy being there?
– Did you have fun with your friends?
A parent’s role is vital in any Childs development, taking them to sessions, cooking for them, doing their washing, buying their equipment, treating injuries, being a Psychologist! The list is endless, a parents role is never ending, effectively the best role for any parent to undertake when their child shows endeavour to achieve is to provide them with encouragement and being their biggest fan, true sports fans support their teams through good times and bad. Football fans around the world must be crazy, nobody is guaranteed to win, only one team essentially wins the Championship, or wins the Cup, yet week in week out fans turn out to watch and support their heroes rain, hail or shine. Make your child, your hero.
Not all parents are bad football spectators but in one way or another they all exhibit some of the traits in the following football parent types:
The Negative Parent
To a negative parent the referee is always giving the wrong decision, whether it’s in the favour of their own child’s team or the opposition the referee is never right. They are also critical of the home team coach, who can never seem to get the tactics or the team selection right. The negative parent is always moaning, and is often mean towards all of those around them. Their constant negativity often has an effect on team morale and is the sort of person who should be avoided at all costs.
“when the parents bring their children to training in France we tell them where the nearest coffee shop is and let them know what time they need to come back to pick their child up” Aime Jacquet (France World Cup Winning Coach in 2008)
My child is the best Parent
There are parents who believe their child is by far the best and strongest player, head and shoulders above all the rest. They are constantly telling everyone who cares to listen that their child has been selected for this and that and is a person who is always talking about how good their child is. Initially other parents will put this behaviour down and boastful banter; though over time the boasts become annoying and may isolate the parent and child. These parents may also single out other children in the team and question why they have been picked to play.
The Soccer Star Parent
Parents who have had experience playing organised football or who have been involved in youth football for a long time can be seen as a know-it-all, and they feel because of their experience everyone including the players should listen to them. Often the Soccer Star parent may not have got the gist of the tactics or team set-up, though still feel that because they know more than everyone else they should have a say in team affairs. These parents may be useful in very short bursts, though should for the sake of the team they should keep their experience to themselves.
Have you ever walked into your child’s Maths class and told the teacher how to deliver their lesson to the children???
Why then do it with their football coach…
The Helpful Parent
Parents who help the coach out and the team are often invaluable to a youth football club. Helping to carry the balls and set-up the pitches is often exactly what the coach wants from and parent, though more often than not these same helpful parents want to help too much and try to get involved in team affairs, especially around their own child, and they position themselves and their actions in a way to benefit their child only. There is a point where the coach may have to invite them to step back, without threatening their helpfulness.
The Positive Parent
Some parents can only see the good in both the team and their child and will go out of their way to support the team. They always respond to positive actions on the field with positive shouts and are usually a good influence on the touchlines. Being overly positive however can have a negative effect on the other parents and their constant cheering may annoy other parents.
The Gossip Parent
There is always at least one parent who likes to gossip about the other parents or children. They can’t help themselves, they may have boring lives and gossiping to other parents may be the only fun they have. It’s not very good for the child to have a parent who gossips about others all the time, and can affect team morale and the coach too. Often these parents cause a divide in the team and players may leave because of it.
The Perfect Football Parent
Occasionally we come across a parent who is perfect for youth football. This is the person who has a positive outlook and who understands that participating in football is a special time in a young persons’ life. They may have a good knowledge and experience of football but don’t ram it down the coaches or players throats at every opportunity. They are often helpful but don’t get involved, and they appreciate that football is a team game and every player is part of the team, whether they are the star player or not. They rarely shout, never criticise and watch the game for what it is. These are the parents that every team needs.
Any football parent will be able to recognise all of these types of parents, and may be able to build a profile of yourself taking parts from each of these styles. It’s easy for us to see these traits in other people we observe watching our children, though it’s less easy for us to believe that we fall into any category other than the best.
Which one are you?
As coaches, we see ourselves as role models for the players. How we conduct ourselves is transferred to them, if we are negative, lack energy or show little respect, they will look to emulate these traits with their peers. Being positive and encouraging with any player will boost their confidence, and with this confidence a higher level of achievement will be reached. If a player continues to enjoy themselves they will stay in the game longer, making the game stronger and as a result more players will have a better chance to realise their potential. Football at Youth Level must be about mastering ability, by mastering the first touch, passing, dribbling, shooting and then positional play, communication, integrity the by product of this will be winning, but winning with honesty, pride and understanding of what needs to be done in order to achieve success. There are no shortcuts to becoming a footballer.
“When I control the ball, I try to only take half a touch” Xavi (Barcelona and Spain)
Our goal with the programs we run is to ensure that every player we meet, regardless of age or ability, has football as a positive influence in their lives, something they love to do. Further down the line if this love is nurtured into becoming a Professional Player, fantastic, but there are other ways to stay involved playing at any level, with your workmates at lunchtime or indoor with you old school friends, coaching, becoming a referee or linesman, running a club, but most of all being a fan of the game – everyone should be encouraged to do this!
Read through the following documents; share them with your team mates, fellow parents and coaches.
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It is not just in our code that this is an issue, only recently the article below was splashed across the front of The West Australian newspaper.
Too many budding careers are ruined by well meaning parents and coaches putting too much pressure on their child to perform and too many parents end up feeling bad because they thought they were doing the right thing by their child but missed the mark in their support…………..let the kids play!