I’ll never forget the conversation. It was with an U6 parent-coach of a local community club team. The life-blood of our game. A genuine, decent, human being giving his time to look after his child’s local community football team. And for that, I have nothing but admiration.
His main comment, however, really got me! “I just let them run around, have fun, that’s all you can do right!”.
Notice, there was no ‘question mark’ at the end of the sentence. He wasn’t asking me, he was telling me. Or perhaps just defending his approach to “coaching” the team.
In any case, one thing was clear. He’d given up! Given up on teaching them football anyway. So he had resorted to ‘just letting them have fun’. Fun that also just happened to be on a football field.
Yes, there were a few balls, some cones, a goal or two. It looked like football. But were they actually doing anything to develop their skills, their football ability? Sadly, no, not really.
It’s the age old argument, complaint, push back (call it what you want) … to structured, professional, football development in junior and youth players. “Just let them play”, “just let them have fun”, “don’t restrict them”. The reality, we have found, is far different. Or, at the very least, the solution isn’t quite that simplistic.
You see, it wasn’t that this individual was “right” or “wrong”. It was, just simply that he didn’t have the necessary skills, insights, and expertise to understand how to do both. I.e. have fun WHILST developing as a footballer!
The funny thing about life is that, although we may resist it, rules and structure are actually important to getting an outcome. Including the outcome of ‘FUN’! Especially, we have found, on a football field.
Click the play button below to see my latest VLOG on another never-ending conversation in the game.
Enjoy and as always …
Be the Spark!