Google+ Blueprint for Football: Kids Just Want To Have Fun

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kids Just Want To Have Fun

Football, as with many other sports, can seem absurd for those who are on the outside looking in.  More specifically, it can be hard for them to comprehend how fans attach so much importance to the outcomes of a game.  Then again, when you support a team and pour in so much emotional commitment into following it, there quickly comes a point when it stops being a game and becomes something more than that.

Ultimately, however, it is just that; it is only a game.  There are things which are far more important than what happens on a Saturday afternoon and problems which are much more serious than your team’s failure to sign the star striker you feel is necessary to win the league.  Probably every fan (or at least the mildly sane ones) agree with this.

And whilst it might not be healthy, it doesn’t really matter if we take football a bit too seriously.  

Even so, there are limits.  Most people know that they shouldn’t be making bets that they can’t afford to lose.  Most people know that those around them aren’t at fault if their team loses.  Unfortunately there are those for whom those boundaries don’t exist. 

Sadly, among those who overstep the boundaries of decency one can find coaches.  It wouldn’t be too bad if the people they were coaching were adults.  Unfortunately, however, among those who fail to make the connection that this is only a game there are those who are coaching kids’ teams..

Children pick up football because they see it as a fun way to spend some time playing with their friends.  They want to get better and most of them want to win when they’re playing but, ultimately, they simply want to do something that they enjoy.

Often, if that is happening, then they will improve.  Not everyone will do so at the same rate but the more they enjoy it the more they’re eager to play which results in them getting better.  Coaches play a key role in this process as they’re the ones who have to make training sessions enjoyable.  This often involves extra work as they have to think of different and interesting ways to get the children – particularly the younger ones – to learn what they want them to learn.

Many dedicated coaches do this.   Sadly there are also those who don’t, coaches who don’t really pay attention to how many touches of the ball each child is getting, leaving them to stand around waiting for their turn to come.  

There are other ways through which coaches can ruin a kids’ experience.  Placing too much importance on winning is perhaps the most classic example yet favouritism – be it with the coach failing to check some parents’ bullying or for other reasons – can turn people off the game very, very quickly.

Indeed, even the language that the coach uses can play a determining role.  What does he say to correct a mistake?  Does he praise effort or is that praise only reserved only for when something that is to his likely is done?

Sometimes, for all their faults, these coaches are successful in that they manage to build winning teams.  But that is in the short term.  The true value of a coach lies in the long term: it does not lie in the tournaments or games won but in how many children they inspire, nurturing a life-long love for the game and for sport.

Want to know how other coaches go about setting their blueprint for the game?  Check out Blueprint According To...Volume 1 and Blueprint According To...Volume 2.  Subscribe to Blueprint for Football Extra (all for free) for more great articles straight to your in-box.

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