Grassroots News

Develop your players! Stop tapping up mine!

In the short time I’ve been a coach, I’ve seen too many fellow coaches moaning about their squads.

Continue reading “Develop your players! Stop tapping up mine!”

**BREAKING NEWS**The FA Respect Awards are back for 2017

This year we’re looking to celebrate achievements across an even wider range of roles – and we’d like people from across the game to nominate the people, clubs or leagues who make a real difference For All.

Grassroots football champions come from all backgrounds and it’s time to recognise those that represent the very spirit of the game with nominations for The FA Respect Awards 2017 now open. The FA’s Respect Programme, launched in 2008, aims to unite the game and help make sure football is enjoyed in safe, inclusive and positive environments, both on and off the pitch.

The awards, now in their eighth year, represent a chance to recognise those from every area of the game who help promote the very best practice.

The window to vote is open from 12 May-12 June. We’re looking for nominations from across football. It might be a friend, team-mate or someone else you know in the game. Self-nominations will be considered.

Winners will be those who best represent the behaviours of Respect (for example fairness, integrity, inclusion and leadership) and can demonstrate how they have worked to make these behaviours a part of the game in their communities. A Respect champion could be someone who has significantly impacted one other, or had an influence on many.

Nominate your Respect Champions here: #ForRespect


In 2017 the awards will celebrate individuals, clubs and teams. They are divided into 11 categories:

Bobby Moore (Individual) –Who’s gone above and beyond to show Respect For All this season? Who’s raised the standards across every aspect of the game and has used Football to break down barriers in their community?

Coach – It takes more than a game to bring out the best in players. Does your Coach put respect at the heart of everything they do?

Player – It takes more than a goal to make a winner. Know a player who always leads the field in respect, come win or lose?

Supporter – It takes more than a cheer to show your support. Who fosters team spirit and fairness from the side-lines?.

Parent- It takes more than good behaviour to lead by example. Are you proud of the support some parents show at each and every game?

Grounds staff – It takes dedication to maintain your facilities. Who goes over and above to ensure your facilities are respectable and safe?

Committee member – It takes more than paper to keep everyone on the same page. Who’s guaranteed to keep Respect at the top of the agenda?

Volunteer – It takes more than free time to make an experience rewarding. Who never fails to volunteer their dedication and support?

Club – It takes more than a badge to have honour. Does your club always show exemplary behaviour on and off the pitch?

League – It takes more than tables to get results. Are the values of Respect part of everything your league does, from committee meetings to match-day experiences?

Match official – It takes more than a whistle to control a game. Who always leads with integrity and respects all who take part?


This is the time for Respect Champions from across our region to shine. Nominate your Respect Champions here: #ForRespect #ForAll



I am not a Coach. I am a Grassroots Coaches partner and a parent.

I may not be a coach however I still attend every game cheering on every child as if they were my own. I may not be a coach however I attend every training session arriving before and leaving way after collecting subs, taking messages and helping sort kits etc.

I spend hours watching other peoples children play football when my own are not even playing. I have lost count on the amount of times that our family life has come second – late night calls, rushed dinners as my partner has to leave to go to league meetings, attending parent evenings on my own as it clashes with training.  Continue reading “I am not a Coach. I am a Grassroots Coaches partner and a parent.”


Merfyn Roberts, FA coach educator for the social corner, outlines 10 top-tips to help improve player behaviour.

1) Create a club language

Kids need to understand what the expectations are at your club. Try and use language like “when you’re wearing the club badge we expect…” and “when you’re training with us on a Saturday morning this is what we do…”. All this helps to give the kids a chance to learn within a consistent framework.   Continue reading “TOP 10 TIPS FOR MANAGING PLAYER BEHAVIOUR”

Junior club treasurer steals £15,000 from club!!!!

A WOMAN who embezzled nearly £15,000 from a Bradford junior football club would have been jailed had her actions led to its teams going under, a judge said yesterday.

The Article from Rob Lowson via Bradford Telegraph and Argus reports that Jemma Blackburn, 35, was acting as treasurer for Westwood Juniors FC when she stole the money between April 2012 and March last year.

The theft came to light after Blackburn’s landlord, who was chasing up her rent arrears, gave the club letters from the bank stating nothing was left in its account.   Continue reading “Junior club treasurer steals £15,000 from club!!!!”

WARNING!!!! Grassroots club loses £28000 in email scam!!!!

The Guardian has reported on a new scam that one unlucky Grassroots team has fell foul of, the scam which involves emails being sent from what appears to be an official email from your own club asking for payments to be made externally to suppliers has cost Laurel Park FC from Reading £28,000.

The club had expected a request due looking to spend money on its facilities. Only after four payments – amounting to in excess of £28,000 into other Barclays accounts – did it emerge that the emails they  received were false, and had come from a mocked-up lookalike account.

Police have warned treasurers of community groups and small charities have been warned to be extremely wary.

The case will send a shiver down the spine of anyone who acts as a treasurer for a club or charity. Please make yourself aware of this scam as scammers seem to be more than willing to target Grassroots teams.

Read the full story from the Guardian HERE

“The perfect session” Why players shouldn’t be the only ones learning during a session

The idea of delivering the ‘perfect’ coaching session can prove restrictive for coaches who want to learn and get better, explains FA Coach Mentor, Graeme Carrick.

Asking players to step out of their comfort zone, try new things and experiment, are common coaching requests. However, how many coaches can honestly say they are willing to make a few mistakes in order to improve their own practice?

“As coaches we have to learn and part of learning is that we have to step out of our comfort zone and go through the different stages of learning. If we do a session for the first time the chance is it’s not going to be perfect,” explains Graeme Carrick, FA Coach Mentor.

For Carrick, who has worked in a variety of coaching and mentoring roles at The FA over the last nine years, each session is simply an opportunity for coaches to reflect and get better – whether that is during the session or afterwards.

“As coaches we’re learning as well as the players. We would expect players to self-correct and reflect on decisions and say next time I would do this or that differently. It’s the same as coaches when you find there is a problem in the session.”

Intentionally trying to make sense of experiences during and after a coaching session is crucial to inform future thinking and practice. And that doesn’t just include the parts of the session that ‘went wrong’ but the positive aspects as well, explains Carrick.

“It is important that after the session you ask: How did it go? What was good about it? What would you do again? What would you not do again? And for all of the questions ask: why? It’s about trying to make sense of it all.

“If you can do this over a block of work, you’ll start to see development in yourself over the longer term. You’ll see a shift in yourself as well as in the kids,” he adds.

A clear learning objective and focus for the session is crucial if effective reflection is going to take place, explains Carrick.

“It’s important to have clarity in terms of what you’re going to look for in the session and clarity in terms of the things you want to see and bring out. That will give you things to reflect against during the session and you will be able to look at the things the kids are doing.”

With a clear idea of the aim of the session, coaches can start to focus on observation skills and the ‘art of noticing’.

“Within any group there’s going to be lots of stuff going on – so it’s important to answer: what are you looking for and what are you looking at? Sometimes when you try to see everything, you see nothing,” explains Carrick.

“When we first start out with coaching we’re really concerned with organisation, sessions, and how it looks and a feeling of control. As you become more experienced you realise you are more comfortable with that and so that doesn’t take up your attention as much – you’re quite happy with that so you can move on. Now you’re free to look more closely at the players and how they are getting on individually,” he adds.

Carrick believes that starting a coaching practice with a game can prevent coaches getting caught up in issues of practice organisation and instead focus on setting appropriate challenges and observing the players.

“If you start with a game it’s a great way of getting the kids active but it’s also a great of way seeing how they’re getting on with the task and challenges. You can focus your observations more around that than the organisation and how the session is running.

“The challenge might be as simple as: you want the kids to take up better supporting positions. So you’re looking at what the kids are doing off the ball.

“Then you’re reflecting on: how well did they do and did they get a chance to practice it. If so, why? If not, why? And most importantly: what are you going to do for next time? That might be your reflective process. The same observation and reflective process is also equally important on matchdays” adds Carrick.

This article courtesy of Graeme Carrick via the Boot Room, follow Graeme HERE @Graemecarrick


Have fun, make friends, play football

The Football Association and SSE have teamed up to launch a new initiative in 2017, SSE Wildcats, designed to inspire girls aged between 5-11 to be involved in the sport.

SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Clubs provide girls with regular opportunities to play football and take part in organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment created exclusively for girls. 200 clubs have been established across England throughout the spring and summer.*

The sessions take place on a weekly basis, either after school or at weekends, subject to the local organiser. They will provide a safe environment where girls with no football experience can; have fun engaging with sport, develop fundamental skills, try a variety of sessions, learn new things and create foundations for a lifelong love of sport.

Alongside the football for girls activities, there will also be opportunities for the attending parents, carers and siblings to engage with sport in ‘Family Sessions’, e.g. Soccercise/Walking football at the same time.

Each SSE Wildcats club will be run in conjunction with local County FAs and utilising qualified coaches and local facilities to offer girls a location nearby where they can get involved.

SSE Wildcats has been established in partnership with SSE, supporters of girls’ football participation and sponsor of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, with support from UEFA, FIFA and The Youth Sport Trust.


FA confirm sin bin trials for Grassroots Football next season!!

The FA has invited grassroots leagues at Step 7 and below of the National League System to trial Temporary Dismissals (more commonly known as ‘sin bins’) during their fixtures next season.

Following the decision of IFAB earlier this year to permit National Associations the ability to implement changes in rules at grassroots level of the game, we have agreed to pilot the system in selected leagues for the duration of the 2017-18 season.

Continue reading “FA confirm sin bin trials for Grassroots Football next season!!”


Pete Sturgess, FA national coach for players 5-11, outlines 10 ways to help young players deal with winning and losing.

1) Help kids deal with losing

Kids enjoy the competitive element of the game and don’t need to be pushed to ‘win’. However, being so young they’re not sure how to handle the ups and down that come with competition and don’t necessarily know how to deal with either winning or losing – although dealing with winning is easier.

Adults must be consistent in the way they help children with the bumpy road that is competition and should look for opportunities to show how to deal with adversity and frustration with dignity and respect.

2) Results aren’t a reflection of your ability as a coach

The worst examples of coach behaviour come when the coach feels that the result is a reflection of them – and it’s not.  You are not the best coach in the world if your team wins and you are not the worst coach in the world if your team loses.  I think once the adults get a grip on that concept you can begin to do some really valuable work with the players.

3) Understand your own values and beliefs

If you have taken time to think about your values and beliefs – as an individual and a club – then no matter the situation, whether that is winning or losing, then you can go back to those clearly defined values and beliefs as a map for how to act.

4) The result does matter

In the past we have had coaches say to children “the result is not important”. Well, I think that sends out the wrong message. The result is important to everybody involved – but the way the team and individuals behave during the course of the game is the most important thing.  If you do lose the game, try not to lose the lesson.

5) Kids imitate adults

It should mean something to you if your team loses, but your job is to be the filter for the children to help them deal with their emotions. If we wear our feelings on our sleeve, then the kids will pick up on it and imitate us. The kids simply copy what the adults do when they lose a game. I think on too many occasions it’s actually the adults that have set bad examples for the kids.
6) Define what ‘winning’ means to you

‘Winning’ can mean your team reacted really well to adversity, never gave up in a really tight game, always wanted to do the right things and behaved in the right way. For me that’s as much about winning as actually winning the game 3-0. We want to instil ‘winning behaviours’ as these are what we go back to in any situation and come from your team philosophy and values.

7) How far have you taken the team?

Something I ask coaches is:  tell me where your team started and where they are now – but don’t tell me any of the results in between. It is the most important measure of development. If you can adopt that attitude you’ll find that results improve because of all the good work that is being done during the process.

8) Winning with dignity and respect

Winning with dignity and respect is as important as losing with dignity and respect. I think it’s part of the English psyche that we’re actually really good losers. We should want all our young players to be real competitors and warriors but to handle both winning and losing with dignity and humility.

9) You’re not Mourinho or Conte

Mimicking the behaviours displayed by role models at the top of the game can be dangerous. You have to understand the domain that they’re working in: one bad result and they could lose their job.  If you’re the coach of the local U8s side and you lose a match you’re not going to lose your job. As a coach of young children your behaviour and attitude needs to be completely different from those whose livelihood and reputation depends on the result of a football match.

10) The kids will take their lead from you

When things don’t go to plan it’s quite easy to blame somebody else or find excuses. Instead you should focus on the things you are in control of. So much of children’s behaviour mimics that of the coach. If the children see the coach arguing about decisions or moaning after the game then they will think that’s the way to deal with these kinds of situations – because that’s what the adults are doing.


Article courtesy of Pete Sturgess via The Boot Room, you can follow Pete here @sturge_p


How to prevent scorelines of 13-0, 19-1 and 27-0 in youth football was the subject of a recent blog by Jack Walton, FA regional coach development manager.

In the article, Jack stresses the importance of creating competitive balance in youth football to ensure an enjoyable, equal and beneficial learning experience for all involved.
Here, we asked Jack for his 5 top tips for coaches to use to prevent mismatched fixtures.

Continue reading “WHO BENEFITS IF YOU WIN 13-0?”


Managing player behaviour

Understanding what young players want from their grassroots football experience can help prevent poor behaviour, writes FA county coach developer, Mike Antrobus.

Poor player behaviour at training or matchday is often caused by boredom, the desire for attention, or the practice activity being pitched too hard or easy.