Football’s Parents


By John Cartwright

“John!” the loud cry would come from either my mother or father; it’s time for bed and school’s tomorrow. Thousands of hours were taken up in the street, school playground and wartime debris, for these places were the learning grounds of the footballers of the past. These ‘mini Wembley’s’ provided competitive, small-sided games of football with realistic football decision-making — a football ‘apprenticeship’— that taught the game without the pressure or intrusion of parents, or later, would-be coaches. The loss of this informal but positive way of learning has meant an enormous change from the ‘natural’ development of young players to a more ‘pressured’ format. The ‘structured’ take-over of development has been unable to recreate a satisfactory coaching methodology that can recover the loss of practice time, nor the practical realism to learning suitable for all ages. Equally destructive has been the ever growing emphasis on winning…

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