Recently the above tweet brought a lot of attention upon itself, with coaches and parents from around the world giving their opinions also sharing similar experiences. How many of us can relate with such experience? Whilst discussing the above tweet with a parent, he decided to share his experience as a coach with The Sporting Influencer.
**Permission was given to share the story:
I remember about 10 years ago playing against another under 11’s team on the island and getting beaten 11-0. We were due to play the same team a fortnight later so I suggested to their “coach” that he might play those players who were on the sidelines during the first game, thereby giving everyone a chance to play.
At half-time during the second game, it was 1-1 and our players were overjoyed to be holding the opposition to a draw whilst their boys were obviously happy to be playing for once. However, at half-time the opposition’s players were given an ear full from their coach and he brought on his “best players” from the previous game for the second half going on to win 15-1.
That is when I realised that some “coaches” didn’t really love the game and certainly didn’t seem like they wanted to pass on their love of the game to the young players they coached.
Such experiences shouldn’t be happening, games and scores like these aren’t great or even helping anyone, only for the egotistical coach. As coaches, we have a responsibility to create an environment that promotes participation, enjoyment and, inclusion. In my experiences, I’ve had parents tell me they’d rather the team win than their son play. Parents need to acknowledge games with high scores, aren’t helping anyone. The game doesn’t belong to the coaches, parents, officials it belongs to the players, all players and, all abilities. There are so many great and outstanding coaches around the world that develop all players within the squad at every game, ages and, abilities, regardless of “playing a local opposition” or “a must-win game”.
There are many strategies coaches can implement to manage the score and make the game competitive and inclusive for all:
FA’s Power Play Law
– Increasing players on the field
– Decreasing player on the field
– How many times can they switch the play before creating a goal scoring opportunity?
– Can they reach “X” amount of passes before creating a goal scoring opportunity?
– Can each player run with the ball into space?
-Can we rotate players in different positions during the game?
-Opportunity for the GK to play outfield?
-Can the players create new formations?
These are only a few examples for coaches to potentially agree upon when the scores do increase beyond a certain point. However, it’s important and vital to include parents within such approaches also decisions. This may happen before the season starts, before games or after the games. Parents will be grateful and will appreciate being involved, having a clearer understanding of the environment also our approach in developing all players on the field. Naturally, a small percentage of parents might not be happy of game-time, not scoring enough or “Premier League teams don’t do this” all we can do as a coach is explain our reasons for this in a calm and confident manner.
All of us involved in youth sports need to remember that, our purpose is to develop people and secondly players.
Let’s make the game competitive for both teams, include everyone and have some fun.
Surely we can agree on that?
The Sporting Influencer