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Thread: A tale of what is wrong with kids grassroots football

  1. #51
    Master TimeThoughts's Avatar
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    I'm an under 6's coach now and I think the exclusion at that age is not acceptable. The club I'm involved in wouldn't even consider this topic for discussion but we have a huge parental involvement just now.

    Last few sessions we had 48 young lads and 9 coaches so we split the kids into 4 or 5-a-side groups in quarter pitches for drills and game play. The numbers thin out as the years progress so I would see this at least half by early teens.

    I would say 3 coaches are proper fully trained coaches in the club and the other 6 of us are 'assistants', i.e. - we are vetted, we are also 'in training' but we are really there as we have our own kids there.

    I would say my lad is only mid ability in the current large group but he thoroughly enjoys everything. I volunteered as I was hanging around on the sideline anyway.

    Regarding coaching, on a few occasions I have been very angry, for example I once had a kid boot a ball away and refuse to fetch it... Fair enough at that age but his mother was just looking on at this. If my son did that to another adult in front of me he'd be brought home that minute and locked in his room for 2 days.

    I think it helps to get involved if you have the right demeanor for it but the OPs post is saddening and I was sorry to read it.

  2. #52
    I coach kids cricket and the ideas are the opposite everything is about the kids have fun, we teach very little technical stuff, just the basics and try and get the kids hitting the ball and bowling straight. A lot of the parents have commented on how different it is to football and how much the kids enjoy it.

    My 5 year old wants to play football and I played to a good level, so took him to watch a mates kid, who is a year older. thinking of him joining and it was way too serious. Sport has to be fun first and everyone should have a chance to play. The parents were generally a bit angry and too intense.

    So he had his first golf lesson. On Saturday just gone and loved it, so might try that for a bit.

    I feel sorry for you having to explain this to your kid, it really is not right. It must be fun and must be inclusive. There is great life lessons in looking after weaker team members and getting a strategy to win over stronger teams.

  3. #53
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    A word of warning: sailing is expensive. A boat is a hole in the water and you're throwing bucketloads of money in that hole.

    My impression is that rugby (a small sport over here) and rugby parents are not allowing this gun-ho mentality by parents or wannabe top-coaches. Just like sailing.
    Not talking Americas Cup, here........

    Seen sailing clubs which own a lot of the dinghies they use, and organise events close inshore.

  4. #54
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    The coach you mentioned is a ring! All 6 year olds should just be allowed to play, Bob of them are future Mrssi or Ronaldos (for now anyway). Report him to the club for being a ring and find another place for your lad to have fun.

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  5. #55
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    *None of them are....(not Bob)

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  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter franks View Post
    My son played for various teams from 6 through to 14 the day he stopped i breathed a sigh of relief.
    The entire atmosphere of kids football is toxic, from the failed prima donna managers/coaches to the awful parents the whole experience is terrible.
    I wish you all the best and maybe a move to another team will help, I definitely wouldn't be putting in the effort if they are not even going to play him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Doesnít surprise me TBH and I doubt this club is unusual. Years ago one of my sons was told similar because he wasnít good enough.

    Unfortunately kidís football can be very competitive, often driven by the parents, not just the coach. The good kids stand out, even at that age and itís hard for the below average (or even average) ones who just want to have some fun doing their best at the w/e.
    ^^^^^ this.

    My boy played from 6-12 then luckily went over to rugby which as a player myself back in the day was a big relief for me.

    Completely different worlds and having experienced both as a parent, and as stated above, football is toxic!!

    I remember my boy playing at Arsenal and so many parents thought their kid was going to become a superstar player. I was never popular with the other parents and would remind them that it was better little Timmy just enjoyed playing and benefitted from team spirit rather than under pressure to be excellent.

    I also enjoyed pointing out that little Timmy was not just competing with his British mates, but with a poor kid in Brazil whoís only prized possession has been a football since the age of 4.

    OP, find a football team that has the right attitude about sports and not just performance, or better still, join a rugby club.

  7. #57
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    Not talking Americas Cup, here........

    Seen sailing clubs which own a lot of the dinghies they use, and organise events close inshore.
    That's true. Here. rowing clubs often have a small 'sailing branch' with indistructable dinghies. Sailing gives a lot of youngsters a lot of confidence when pushing the boundaries: first time with a lot of wind, first time with high waves and first time topping over. That confidence-building part of sport is often derailled by coaches like the OP mentions! Really sad.

    Menno

    Last edited by thieuster; 14th October 2020 at 08:41.

  8. #58
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    I’m a qualified coach having done my level 1 and 2 badges I coach my daughters u9 team, our club have 40 teams from all ages and I’ve seen it from both sides be it a coach who wants to win or parents who think there child has a divine right to play

    What I’ve not seen mentioned here and something we have as a club is a code of conduct that we share before we sign players on, it declares our expectations of coaches, players parents and spectators in addition each manager issues there own ethos and thought processes for the season based on how they run there team.

    I’ve cut and pasted the below paragraph from the letter I issued at the start of the season which emphasises that winning isn’t the goal in fact our league issue similar guidelines as you will see:

    We are conscious of the number of players we sign on as we are committed to providing equal game time for the girls regardless of ability

    (Winning is not the priority see * below issued by the Hertfordshire Girls Partnership League)

    It is our goal to ensure there development in a fun and safe environment and that does limit us if we have too many signed on
    (A lot of teams take 10 to a game and rotate who misses out as an example)

    • Also, please remember that this is, even at the competitive age groups, a youth league. Scorelines should be managed, where possible, to ensure both teams are appropriately challenged. Adding extra players to the losing side, setting individual / team challenges and rotating positions of the winning squad are just some of the ways the above can be achieved. We would hope all non-competitive teams are aiming to develop with the long-term in mind and disregard the scoreline, prioritising age appropriate challenges / objectives instead.

    THIS IS AN ETHOS THAT I WHOLE HEARTEDLY SUPPORT

    I firmly believe that by doing so the expectations are clear for all and as such parents can decide if they wish to sign on additionally I do believe once they get to a competitive age theill naturally progress or move on
    Last edited by R0bertb00th; 15th October 2020 at 18:39.

  9. #59
    Iíd take your original message, copy and paste and send to the FA. Thatís disgraceful but sadly not at all uncommon.

  10. #60
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    It's sad to see the people here who think of kids' football - all of it - as toxic. My sons have had a ball playing for their local team as have most of their friends. They love the game, they love playing it with their mates, they win and lose and neither one really has much impact on them half an hour after the game's finished.

    Equally, I hear pretty much nothing but good about most of the local cricket and rugby clubs.

    I've done my time standing on the sidelines at matches, at training, linesmanning (is that a word?) and from what I can see, most clubs and most coaches try their best. In our middling level of football, I have come across perhaps one team who just went about everything the wrong way, from the coach through to players and parents. I think they were barred from playing in the end. The FA has definitely made an impact as described above by a couple of posters (the ethos of coaching younger players).

    So what the OP describes just sounds wrong, especially at the age of six. As with most things in life, there are good people and not so good ones, and they can be part of football, rugby or tiddlywinks and make things great or awful. This coach sounds like he belongs to the latter category.

  11. #61
    Thanks for the comments everyone. Just thought Iíd let you know that Iíve had the chat with my lad and weíve decided to give martial arts a go together in a family class. Hoping he enjoys it plus it will benefit me too as I will participating too rather than being stood on the sideline.

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Tifa View Post
    FIND ANOTHER CLUB
    Find another game! One of my former team members used to coach kids football and you couldnít pay me to do that job. On the other side of the coin the coach has probably got parents calling him every night about their kids being in the first team, then there are the parents groups where they moan and insult the coaches calling them all sorts of things...all because they think their kid should be going to this or that academy! A thankless task if you ask me! Iím not siding with the coach by the way I think itís an awful thing to do to a 6 year old. Iíd be fuming if it were my lad.

    I agree with others, at this age it should be about fun, learning and teamwork. Find a sport or activity/club that fosters these things.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny778 View Post
    Thanks for the comments everyone. Just thought Iíd let you know that Iíve had the chat with my lad and weíve decided to give martial arts a go together in a family class. Hoping he enjoys it plus it will benefit me too as I will participating too rather than being stood on the sideline.
    Great idea! Will build confidence, discipline and fitness and is something you can share! Hope he enjoys it!

  13. #63
    OP - I'd like to hope the reason is down to numbers .......6 year old is so young to be judging on ability.
    My advice would be stay & train with the team if he is surrounded by his mates or head elsewhere if Sunday 'matchday' is important.


    Ivan Drago - Great post. Been through the journey with my lad since 5yo - he's now 13. We are now playing 11v11.
    Over the years, we've moved teams once and even set up a new team.

    I don't envy the "dad" who takes on the role of a coach. For many clubs/teams, it is just a dad volunteering, some will do the job well ......others not so well......some will live and breathe the role, allowing it to consume their life, others will do the bear minimum to allow the team to 'tick over'

    As it moves from 5v5, 7v7 , 9v9 to 11v11, the demands on a coach's commitment, preparation, training & planning increase massively. And so do the demands from both players and parents !

    The Player Pathway will still say its all about fun, equal game time & kids development.
    But it is completely surrounded and at odds by increased competitiveness as they get older and older.

    There will be some boys in a team who live and breathe football.
    There will be some boys who come to training every week, never miss a session or a match
    There will be some boys who will do extra football training elsewhere, trying to self-develop and get better & better

    On the flipside, there will be boys who are only there for the social aspect - their mates are there
    There will be boys in the team who do other activities and football isn't their only pastime
    There will be boys in the team who turn up to training when the feel like it
    There will be boys in the team who aren't as committed as others.


    Not even discussing 'players ability' , some parents on both of the sides of above will still say its all about fun & development - irrespective how committed they or their boy is to the team and football in general.

    Whilst the committed boys and parents will think they deserve a greater crack of the whip.

    That can lead to difficult decisions for a coach and possible knock-on effects;

    - Stay competitive as possible to try & win = giving some boys less game time
    - giving every boy equal game time and not caring about being competitive = potentially losing your better players who are competitive and want to win
    - Losing the better players = Potentially being beaten by horrible margins each week
    - Losing by horrible margins each week = the boys get down & give up football = the team eventually folds

    Not always the case, but a down-ward spiral I've seen with my own eyes.

    Our boys are 13 - We are now at 11v11
    League Tables
    3 points for a win - 1 for a draw (blah blah)
    Switches from no scores recorded to fully competitive at the flick of a switch !

    We have a squad of 20 - Only 16 are allowed to be taken to the match - 4 sit out every week.
    11 start - 5 subs start on the bench

    Just gets so hard now for a coach to 'keep everyone happy' ........and that includes the boys - as in this day in age of Social Media, the Scores & League Tables are for everyone to see - The boys want to say they have won a match & play in a good team more than ever.

    Boys themselves are questioning why someone starts or is benched or is dropped from the squad.

    Ultimately, for me personally;
    It SHOULD be competitive as early as possible.
    Find your ability level, playing in the right team, league and environment
    As the competitive element comes along soon enough, and those NOT prepared for it, are in for a shock


    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Drago View Post
    I see both sides to it. My an FA coach and run my lads U10s team and itís been an absolutely slog the last few years.

    The original coach ended up having a melt down and saying he couldnít cope with running it anymore so I stepped in. We had 16 kids for 30 min 5 a side games and it was unmanageable. Even the training session with that many kids when they are young is incredibly difficult. Add into the mix at 5 now you have kids that can really play and I mean really play ( at clubs ) and then youíve got kids who genuinely struggle to kick the ball.

    I ended up struggling along for 2 months then came to the decision the 16 needed to be cut to 8 to give the lads enough game time but to also make it easier on myself in terms of the coaching and the running. ( I was running it single handed ).

    So I text the group explain the situation it was unmanageable and not fair for the kids to be getting 2 mins each an asked if anyone would step in and we can form two teams - nobody volunteered. So I then said I was cutting it to 8 and to make it easier on myself I was keeping the best 8 players. Explained it was nothing personal against any child but I was a volunteer and giving up my own time and wanted to make it as easy as possible for myself and my son to play.

    I was met with dogs abuse mainly off the mums calling me a c*nt etc and a heartless b*stard. I got into one exchange with a mum were I explained it wasnít personal etc and could her husband step in and we could all train together but we split the teams so take 8 each for games. I was told her husband was far too busy to be wasting his time with kids footy.

    Anyway FF a few years we are now at U10s and play 7 a side and we have a squad of 12 players. Our starting 7 is incredibly strong and we have a few kids at clubs. However 3 of our team are well below the rest of the team and the lads are getting to the age weíre they know the 3 are struggling. We are in a very competitive league ( they split them based on results ) and when I make a sub and one of the 3 players go on we concede within a couple of mins every time.

    This is making then better players frustrated and also frustrated they are being subbed for players that they know are far below them in terms of ability.

    Iíve also go parent of the kids below the level asking why their kids get less game time than the starting 7 etc.

    It genuinely is an incredibly difficult juggling act to try and keep everyone happy whilst trying to win games and stay competitive. Iíve seen many teams fold because they try and give their whole squad equal minutes and ended up getting smacked and then the kids end up not wanting to get beat every week and donít play.

    What I really struggle with though is parents have tuned up for 4 years and it must be obvious boy X canít kick a ball properly and thatís where his issue lies. But they make no attempt at getting him better at it.

    My lad wasnt great and was in the lower end of the team ability wise so i realised I needed to work with him. Every night we would do 500 passes, then moved onto taking the ball on the half turn etc. Within 6 months he was transformed and is now one of the strongest in the team.

    I disagree with the coach asking your lad to leave at 6 thatís too early for me. Kids can improve dramatically within a few months at that age. All you can do now is try and get him a team where he will play games and work with him in the garden.

    Hopefully meet the team down the line and your lad shows them what heís become.

  14. #64
    Some people forget itís just a game.

  15. #65
    Grand Master
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    What I didn't mention is my daughter's ability. She played her first season a year-young (U10 when she was 8/9) as there wasn't an U9 team. She was excellent and developed loads. She was desperate to be a striker and all summer we practiced different techniques, creating and using space, ways of striking the ball, giving 'the-eyes' and taking penalties. Her next season (last season) was fantastic, scoring 26 goals in just over half a season before it closed down due to COVID. That included a double hattrick and a couple of regular hattricks. She was on fire.

    So this season comes around and they've got her playing at the back. Who does that? What does that do a player's confidence and engagement. Twenty six goals in half a season. She's been in tears at dinner tonight because she's sure she'll be put in defence again on Saturday.

  16. #66
    I'm sure the Player Pathway says NOT to play the kids in one position .....at that age, they should play in multiple positions.

    All the kids wanna be striker or CAM , so give them all a shot in different positions.

    My boy is striker ......so I'm in the same boat as you and both he and I would be devested if coach said to play at the back.

    At his last team, the coach did say "once" ......"play out wide son , you know what to do".....eh ?...really ??...played up top for 4 years and coach says the 8yo should know what to do out on the wing

    We have a kid who has just joined our team from a Scottish Premier League Academy Team .....top class striker but was made to play in defence . Fed up , not enjoying his football, he left.
    He's loving his footie again with us.


    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    What I didn't mention is my daughter's ability. She played her first season a year-young (U10 when she was 8/9) as there wasn't an U9 team. She was excellent and developed loads. She was desperate to be a striker and all summer we practiced different techniques, creating and using space, ways of striking the ball, giving 'the-eyes' and taking penalties. Her next season (last season) was fantastic, scoring 26 goals in just over half a season before it closed down due to COVID. That included a double hattrick and a couple of regular hattricks. She was on fire.

    So this season comes around and they've got her playing at the back. Who does that? What does that do a player's confidence and engagement. Twenty six goals in half a season. She's been in tears at dinner tonight because she's sure she'll be put in defence again on Saturday.

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by steviefleming View Post
    I'm sure the Player Pathway says NOT to play the kids in one position .....at that age, they should play in multiple positions.

    It does.
    No kid is a striker aged 8, or a defender, or a CAM and particularly not a goalkeeper. Yet another problem for the youth-team coach as kids end up settling into a position and once they're there is really difficult to get them out of it.

  18. #68
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steviefleming View Post

    All the kids wanna be striker or CAM , so give them all a shot in different positions.

    My boy is striker ......so I'm in the same boat as you and both he and I would be devested if coach said to play at the back.
    Exactly the same as youngsters' support for teams...................

    The kids in Grimsby - all support ManU, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, etc as they all want part of 'success'

    Very dificult for parents to instill a pride in their locale.

  19. #69
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    At 6 years old without many games in his legs we won't actually know how much he could improve. The manager should have given everyone a chance over a longer period of time and then chopped and changed so everyone gets a chance.

    Surely he can mix 8/9 better players each week with a couple of the others still finding their way and then it keeps everyone happy and the kids are still playing at the same club with their mates. Surely that is what most managers should be doing with teams at that age.

    The crazy world we live in just keeps on giving...

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