Grassroots News

Ref knocked out after being HEADBUTTED by red carded player

Sunday league game ended in extreme violence when Kieran Kimberley, having already been sent off during the game and violently head butted referee Craig Ward causing Ward to be knocked unconscious.

The game involved Kimberley’s team, Stockingford White Lion, and Grendon FC in the Nuneaton and District Sunday League.

Kimberley attacked Mr Ward moments after the final whistle of the match on October 1. He was knocked unconscious from the headbutt – and needed medical treatment for a gash on his nose.

In a statement read in court, Mr Ward said: “I could see the man come towards me, and his head moved towards my eyebrow.”The next thing, I woke up on the floor bleeding from the bridge of my nose.”It has left me feeling gutted. It was just a game of football. “It wasn’t even a bad-tempered game. I may not referee again in the future.”

 

Referee Mr Ward unconscious after the assault – image courtesy Birmingham Mail

 

Chair of the magistrates, Vanessa Marvell, said: “We have considered this carefully, and we do find that this was so serious that it has to have a custodial sentence, but we are going to suspend that sentence.

“This was serious because you used your head as a weapon to cause injury, and it was an unprovoked attack on someone who was carrying out their duties as a football referee.”

Prosecutor Jez Newsome said: “The victim was the referee of a game on Sunday October 1, in which the defendant was issued two yellow cards, which resulted in a red card.

“At the end of the game Mr Ward was trying to explain it to the team manager, and Mr Kimberley approached them, talking to the referee about the repercussions of the red card.”

Mr Newsome said that when Kimberley was arrested later that day and interviewed, he made a full admission to what he described as “a moment of madness,” but claimed he felt the ref was laughing and winding him up.

He said he had not meant to cause the injury, and he suggested the ref had “moved his arm and I thought he was going to hit me” – which was rejected by the prosecution.

 

Kieran Kimberley outside court (Image: Paul Beard)

Mr Newsome said: “He says the victim has a reputation as being a wind-up who is known to provoke players. “The Crown in no way accept that” “This is a referee who gives up his time at weekends to enable people to play on a football field.”

Paul O’Keeffe, defending, said: “He described it as a moment of madness, and that he should not have done it. “Mr Kimberley accepts his action was completely unwarranted, and out of proportion to anything that happened at the time.” He didn’t wish to cause injury.

Paul O’Keeffe, defending, said: “He described it as a moment of madness, and that he should not have done it.

Kimberley was handed a four-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay his victim £300 in compensation, £185 court costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

We spoke directly to the RDO from the Birmingham County FA who confirmed that they were aware of the incident, had been in contact with Mr Ward to offer support during the court proceedings. A local county FA investigation will now begin.

DISCRIMINATION REPORTS TO KICK IT OUT RISE FOR FIFTH CONSECUTIVE SEASON

Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, can reveal a rise in discrimination reports for the fifth consecutive season, with a 16.7% increase for the 2016/17 campaign.

The organisation received 469 reports last season, compared to 402 in 2015/16. The reports of discrimination come from across football – including Premier League, English Football League (EFL), Women’s Super League, non-league and grassroots fixtures, as well as football-related discrimination on social media.

Nearly half of the total reports in 2016/17 – 48% – relate to race, with 21% HBT (Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic) discrimination and 17% faith related.

Kick It Out is a third-party reporting bureau and liaises with the football authorities and the police to take up cases on behalf of complainants, as well as offering support and guidance to those who have witnessed or suffered discrimination.

Of the 206 professional game reports received by Kick It Out, 56% took place in the Premier League, 34% in the EFL, 9% at non-league (Step 4 or above) and 1% at international fixtures. Professional game reports marked a 53% increase compared to 2015/16.

In another significant rise, reporting through the Kick It Out app, available on Apple and Android devices, increased by 62% in comparison to 2015/16.

Roisin Wood, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Kick It Out’s reporting statistics for the 2016/17 season clearly indicate discrimination is still prevalent within the beautiful game.

“As we head towards the 25th anniversary of the organisation in August 2018, it is a timely reminder that there is still significant work to be done to ensure all participants can feel safe and included in the sport.

“Whilst the statistics show a large proportion of reporting taking place within the professional game, Kick It Out is aware of the vast scale of under-reporting within the grassroots game. This is one of a number of challenges the football authorities must tackle going forward.

“Kick It Out actively encourages all those involved across the game to report any discrimination they witness or suffer.”

To report discrimination across all levels of the English football, download the free Kick It Out reporting app – available on the App Store and Google Play. The app features the option to report anonymously as well as the ability to include video and images to a report.


“WHEN ARE WE HAVING A GAME?”

“When are we having a game?” – I’d be willing to bet that this is the question that coaches up and down the country probably get asked most often.

Why is this? Don’t these kids realise how much time and effort we’ve put into researching and planning this nice, neat and tidy drill? Those six words are enough to sink the spirit of the most well-intentioned.

What is a game?

Noun: 

1. A form of competitive activity or sport played according to rules.

2. An activity that one engages in for amusement.

A game in a coaching context isn’t necessarily ‘the game’ – the version they experience on a weekend. Although, it may well be. A game, simply, may be a practice that has rules, some form of scoring system and/or competition.

Why use games?

Unlike repetitive drills, the decisions that the players make in games are not pre-determined by the practice or the coach and the outcomes are uncertain. A bit like a match.

Games provide excitement through their realism and they engage. They can be manipulated to challenge the players appropriately.

A game in a coaching context isn’t necessarily ‘the game’ – the version they experience on the weekend.

These ingredients of freedom offer a glimpse as to why games are so enjoyable.

‘I’m going to stop learning this because it’s too much fun,’ said no-one, ever! Games give the players the opportunity to develop their craft for the match.

A few years ago, as a frustrated high handicap golfer, I figured out the main reason (among many!) that was stopping my aspiring path to single figures – my short game.

The constant, repetitive drills I was practising ripped straight off YouTube we’re bringing short term success on the practice range but my handicap remained closer to my age than I wanted. I couldn’t repeat it when it mattered.

A friend then recommended some simple chipping games. They provided me with variety, fun, challenge and engagement. I found myself regularly in states of flow in practice where hours went by without me noticing. I was competing. Against myself. Trying to beat the game.

If us adults weren’t around, games are what the players would play. Ever remember queuing up ten deep or standing in nice neat lines during break time at school? Nor me. Remember Wembley Doubles, Heads and Volleys, Three-and-in and everything else we played on the street? Me too. There was a reason for this. We were, perhaps unintentionally, developing our craft.

So what are we to do?

It’s training night and the parents and players have arrived. The latter giddy with excitement. The former interested to see what practices we have prepared to teach to their sons and daughters.

We need to reassure the parents that developing players learn best through games. That such practices will often look chaotic and messy instead of being tidy and regimented. A bit like a match.

Keep it simple. One of the reasons why our beautiful game is the world’s most popular sport is due to its simplicity. Two teams, two goals, one ball.

The same can be said for the practices that we design for our players to learn from. If in doubt, think ‘how might I add simple rules, scoring and competition?’ Or even ask the players what they would do. They may surprise us.

Maybe where we’ve gone wrong in the past is because we’ve used ‘the game’ as a carrot – ‘If you’re good and do these drills then we’ll have a game at the end.’

Or ‘It’s your game time at the end you’re wasting.’ This carrot is one that is often dangled until the end of the session. Until we feel as though we’ve got what we want from the session.

Games can take place whenever possible – not just at the end of a session as a carrot for good behaviour

I’ve often had coaches ask me why their players’ behaviour is erratic until they have a game. The irony is that the thing we are trying to help the players get better at (‘the game’) is the thing that we often try to use to control their behaviour. The thing that we don’t feel that they’ve earned until they’ve ‘mastered the basics’.

Why is this practice so common? It’s similar to telling children that ‘if you’re good and eat all your vegetables then you’ll get a desert.’ (Is it any wonder that vegetables – and indeed repetitive drills – have such a bad name among so many kids?).

What this tradition of coaching practice also does is wait until the players are more fatigued – at the end of the session – until they start practicing the things that they are more likely to be repeating at the weekend.

‘We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.’ – Archilochus, Greek Soldier, 650 BC

So when are we having a game?

Whenever possible.

I set myself a challenge some years back now to eradicate this question from my coaching. The players I’m lucky enough to work with currently trust that our practices will be all about games.

I’ve noticed that players who are trained on a diet of games arrive at training much more relaxed as they know that their session is not about to be dominated by the coach and they will have the chance to apply and expend their stored creative energy.

About The Author

Name: Jack Walton

Title: regional coach development manager

Follow: @jackwalton1

10 REASONS TO PLAY FUTSAL

Futsal is a skilful and high-intensity game played by ten players on an indoor court with a heavy ball. Here, FA youth coach developer, Ian Bateman, explains why Futsal is the perfect game for indoor training over the winter period.

1) If you are taking your team indoors for winter training, getting them to play Futsal is a great starting point.

The constraints of the game itself will draw out lots of positive returns: technical, tactical, physical, psychological, social and more. By playing the game and keeping the time and the score, the players will get excited by it and are likely to play with intensity and it will answer any questions of: “when are we having a game?”

2) The constraints of the game itself help with player development.

For example, take the rule that the ball cannot be passed straight back to the goalkeeper after it has been distributed. Straight away it means the game is in an under-loaded situation of 4v5 in favour of the defending team and players in possession have to deal with receiving and keeping the ball under pressure. Simply playing 5v5 in tight areas is not easy and the players will enjoy the challenge.

3) A Futsal ball has very little bounce, so it is easier to control.

At the top level you will see players receive the ball with the sole of their foot, allowing them to manipulate it quicker. Rather than stopping it and then getting it out of their feet, they can shift it in one go and they can manipulate it through 360 degrees really quickly.  With players receiving the ball with the bottom of their foot, the ball speed between players can be quick – and is actually quicker than football.

4) Futsal helps develop intelligent defenders.

Because the ball is easier to control, defenders have to be patient and clever when defending. The rules dictate that you only have five fouls per team per half, so it deters players from giving fouls away – on the sixth foul they give a penalty away. Defending in Futsal is a real skill and all comes as a result of the ball that is used.

5) The beauty is you only need one ball to get going.

A Futsal ball might cost as little as £10. Quite often there are markings on an indoor floor that can be utilised and you can be creative with how you use the goals. If you don’t have Futsal sized goals, 5 a-side goals are fine – just add in cones to narrow them off.  When you are working with younger players, 5 a-side goals may actually be better because they are lower and sometimes the Futsal goals are too high for U6s and U7s.

6) Different sized Futsal balls bring different returns.

U7s should play with a size two or three but also might benefit from some time playing with a size four, as it will help with control as the ball will move slower. The trade-off is that all the passes will have to be short. Similarly, older players working with a size two may find it more difficult to control the ball because of the decreased surface area.

7) Working indoors can provide a wider variety of learning opportunities.

An indoor facility allows you to put the learning objectives and session plan up on the wall. If you want the players to write feedback or ideas up on a chart you have the opportunity to do so. Sometimes the weather outside can rule out these aspects of the coaching process. Working indoors also allows the coach to take their time rather than just feel they need to rush through the session to keep the players warm.

8) Sometimes lots of footballs in an indoor facility can be chaotic.

Given that Futsal balls don’t bounce – and you don’t need many of them to set up the game and start playing – it can be much easier to manage the environment. Also, by working indoors means you can manage your equipment better. Balls aren’t continually being kicked out of the area meaning you can have more action and play.

9)  There is very little stop and stand still.

Because Futsal is such a dynamic game, one of the ways to get the main learning messages across is by letting the game ‘run’ and to coach during breaks in the play. We don’t encourage much stopping and standing whilst the game is underway. One of the key messages from the new Futsal awards is to let the practice or game run, have a quick chat with the players when they are on the sideline (see below), and then let them go again.

10) Opportunity to coach the players who are resting.

Because there are lots of changes to the personnel on court at any one time there is an opportunity to coach the players who are on the sideline.  Sometimes football coaches are uncomfortable with all the players not being involved in all parts of the session. But with Futsal being such a dynamic game, the players want – and need – to rest. It affords the coach time to talk to the players about their own individual targets and challenges and also what they have observed in the game. Players might only work in two or three minute blocks so the intensity of the game stays consistently high.

Ian Bateman is an FA Youth Coach Educator specialising in Futsal.

 

WHY GAMES ARE SO IMPORTANT TO YOUNG PLAYERS

This article looks at using a more games-based approach for players aged 5-11 in the Foundation Phase and the potential benefits of this way of working.

For many young children, playing in games of football is the driving force behind their early engagement with the sport and their motivation, enthusiasm and focus remain high when taking part in these games. To clarify, games can be small-number games in training (such as 1v1, 2v2, 3v3) as well as any suitable competitive small-sided game format as part of a league, festival or tournament.

The Foundation Phase 'experience'

Small sided games are valuable for the development of foundation phase players

The players need this exposure to help their development. The part that we play as adults and coaches is to help manage the ups and downs, the successes and disappointments and the development opportunities that these encounters will provide. We must create an environment that is safe and supportive whilst being competitive and player centred. If we can provide this then there is an increased chance of players staying with the sport and as such giving us, the coaches, a chance to develop them even further

The Approach

If you have the opportunity to take your team indoors to play Futsal in the coming months you will have the perfect opportunity to help players begin to understand the game. Try to place your players in a wide range of different situations. Help them to recognise the situation they are in and then work together to arrive at the most effective solution or outcome. This will take time as these solutions will have to be tried and tested over a long period of time and through a large number of similar repetitions.

For example, in a game of Futsal the player will be challenged to process: where they are on court, how much space they have to play in, how much support (if any) is around, where the pressure might be coming from and how many defenders might be present (this is not exhaustive but gives an idea of all the visual and perceptual processing that might be going on).

The Foundation Phase 'experience'

Futsal is the perfect activity for the winter months

When the game is going on this will happen in a very short space of time and will require a huge amount of practice to refine the processing of so much information. That is why this approach is a long term one involving lots of repetition of similar but not identical situations and through a coaching methodology that helps and supports the player to make sense of all the information coming in. The role of the coach will be to help the player understand their own capabilities and to support them as they experiment and explore how these capabilities can provide effective solutions to the many situations they will encounter in the game. This approach will also help the player and the coach identify areas that need to be developed in order to be more effective in what they do.

Pete Sturgess is FA Technical Lead for players aged 5-11.

About Pete

Name: Pete Sturgess
Role: FA Technical Lead for players aged 5-11
Follow: @Sturge_p

HOW FIFA 18 CAN HELP ENGAGE WITH YOUNG PLAYERS AT TRAINING

Creative ways to use the popular football video game to connect with young players.

This Christmas many of the players we coach will enjoy playing the newly released FIFA  video game.

Parents will battle with their children, bargaining and arguing about how long they can play for, and at what time of day.

Although some may be sceptical about too many hours in front of a screen, the careful design of video games also provides high potential for learning.

Playing video games tends to be so enjoyable that people view video games as a form of entertainment rather than education – but there are many hidden benefits.

Video games have the ability to place people into the state of ‘Flow’ – a psychological state that boosts learning and performance.

This ‘Flow Zone’ is characterised as a state in which someone is completely immersed in the activity, and thoroughly enjoying the process of the activity (intrinsically motivated).

As a concept, it was first shared by Hungarian psychologist, Mihály Csikszentmihályi, in the 1970’s, who found that the feeling of flow is dependent on three conditions:

  • The activity has a clear set of goals
  • Clear and immediate feedback provided
  • Person must have confidence in their own ability to meet goals of the activity

These conditions are common of video game design. And as grassroots football coaches, there is an opportunity here for us to harness our players’ engagement with FIFA to help them to learn more about the game of football.

Digital Coaches

To do that, the following may be helpful when attempting to link learning from FIFA  to your team’s training sessions or matches:

  • Set tactical challenges – use learning focus of the training session to devise specific challenges for players to focus on when playing FIFA.

For example, if the learning focus of training is ‘positive and enthusiastic defending’, the FIFA  challenge could be to ‘try and prevent Messi from dribbling’.

To support the player during their FIFA  challenge, request that players jot down their progress in the challenge as it happens. An advantage of football video games, compared to physical football is that players have a PAUSE button – they can use this to their advantage in order to spend time explicitly reflecting on their learning.

  • Multi-player (with team mates) – organise your team into two smaller sub teams, so they work collaboratively to outwit their opponent in a FIFA  game.

Ask each sub team to develop an ‘in possession’ and ‘out of possession’ strategy, which they can present at training, prior to their FIFA  game.

At the next training session, each sub team can then present how their strategy developed or changed during game play, and why.

  • Select a particular FIFA character – for the next training session, challenge players to extend their commitment to the character, on to the pitch.

A player might choose to be John Stones on FIFA, so at training encourage the player to play like John Stones. This will encourage them to reflect on and explore Stones’ technical, tactical, psychological, social and physical attributes.

  • Arrival activity – reenact memorable moments from previous week’s experiences of playing FIFA.

Set up a space on the pitch for players to share their experiences of playing FIFA.

This might involve some players working in small groups or pairs to demonstrate specific plays, some players working individually to practice particular skills, or some players simply talking to one another about new problems or solutions from FIFA .

Amy Price is Lecturer in Physical and Sport Education at St Mary’s University in London. Amy holds the UEFA A Licence and is an FA Coach Mentor and Level 1 and 2 Tutor.

HOW TO MAKE MATCHDAY PLAYER-CENTRED

A matchday is a significant learning opportunity for players and should be treated as such. Coaches should focus upon helping each player to maximise this opportunity and embrace the matchday experience. A good start point for coaches is to be clear about what players will try to learn on matchday. Too often coaches try and fix everything which can lead to a lack of focus and confusion for players.

Matchday learning focus

When planning for matchday consider the following:

1. What is success?

2. Consistency with training objectives/focus

What is success?

What success means and looks like generally differs for player to player. Coaches should develop an appreciation each player’s perspective enhancing their understanding of the individual and their motivation.

The coach’s role is to help players and both training and matchday should be about the players not the coach. Consequently, the coach alone should not decide the success of a matchday and nor should the outcome of the match.

Consistency with the training focus

Continuation of the training theme on matchday allows players to demonstrate and extend their learning. This also helps the coach to be specific in their observation and with their feedback. Resultantly, the messages communicated to players have a purpose and support learning.

Team selection top tips

1. Equal opportunities to learn

A coach has a duty of care to ensure that each player is given equal opportunity to learn. Give each player the same amount of time on the field with challenges relevant to the needs of the individual.

2. Select teams on rotation

Ensure all players are given opportunity to start matches. If a player doesn’t start one week, ensure they start next week.

3. Encourage and provide opportunities for all players to experience different positions.

Rarely will a young player play in one position throughout their footballing experience. Being exposed to different positions presents players with a variety of pictures of the game, helping them to learn a variety of roles and responsibilities and enabling them to make the link between different positions.

4. Don’t rotate positions too frequently

Be careful not to rotate positions too frequently as this can hinder motivation, confidence and learning, particularly as players get older. Consider the player who finally gets an opportunity to play as the striker but doesn’t see much of the ball because the opposition are stronger and dominate the game.

Three games in any given position presents opportunities for a player to familiarise themselves with the role as well as face different opponents and challenges allowing learning to take place.

5. Player Ownership

Allow the players to pick the team. Young players select teams, players and formations on computer games such as Football Manager and FIFA and are adept at doing so. Allowing them to select the matchday team engages players in peer learning, a powerful form of cooperative learning.

To maximise the learning opportunity affinity groups of 4-6 players are recommended. This encourages all players to share their views and reduces the dominance of individual players.

Team and induvidual challenges

Magic 3

It is crucial not to overload players with information that they won’t remember. Three simple bits of information is ample. One way of structuring challenges is to set a challenge for the team, one for each unit (defence/midfield/attack), and one for each individual.

This format encourages teamwork whilst allowing for individual achievement. Challenges can be set in a number of ways.

1. Coach sets challenges for players
2. Players set the challenges
3. Player challenge cards

Challenges set by the coach allow alignment with the training objectives and ensure challenges are pitched appropriately. Coaches should reflect on recent training sessions and ask:

What was he/she good at?

What does he/she need more help with or practice at doing?

The challenges should emerge from your answers. Importantly, the challenges should be alternated to ensure the player has a chance to showcase what they are good at as well as what they need more practice at.

Allowing players to set their own challenges can lead to increased buy-in. However, be sure to ask why they’ve set the challenge and what success will look like? When players can articulate the meaning of the challenge it shows an understanding of the game and an awareness of where they are at in their learning.

Role models

Young players love emulating their football idols do, so why not base challenges on what their idols do?

1. Players pick a challenge card with a footballer on the front [see right], for and the challenge on the reverse becomes their individual challenge throughout the match:

Language

The language used when setting individual challenges should focus on things under the player’s control. When attempting a challenge there are many variables that determine success. Setting a challenge such as score 3 goals or 5 tackles are not within a player’s control and should be avoided.

About Ceri

Role: Lecturer in Sports Development and Coaching

Follow: @CeriBowley

FA Girls’ Football Week 6th-12th November

FA Girls’ Football Week is your opportunity to engage as many women and girls as possible in football.  During FA Girls’ Football Week the whole country will gear up to encourage football activities for girls, which can include playing, training or even learning more about the beautiful game.

FA Girls’ Football Week is taking place on the 6th-12th November.

Organisations can register their ongoing activities as part of the week, or maybe even start something new to kickstart girls’ football.  It’s a great chance to recruit new players and volunteers.  Take a look at this fantastic guide to help you decide what activities to run during the week.

“Any girl can be involved regardless of experience or knowledge of the game. We need everyone to spread the word to get more girls than ever playing football and having fun!”

Register any activities you have planned for the week now and you will receive access to a range of resources designed to help you host events in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Click here to register your activities.

Don’t forget to share all of the great stuff you do during Girls’ Football Week by using the hashtag #GirlsFootballWeek on Twitter.

BREAKING – FA LAUNCHES THIRD GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL SURVEY

The FA has today launched the 2017 Grassroots Football Survey.

The Grassroots Football Survey offers unparalleled insight into the amateur game by providing a platform for those directly involved to give feedback using an online poll.

28,750 and 30,161 people – including; players, coaches, referees, staff and general volunteers – demonstrated a commitment to improving the game at a grassroots level in England by completing the 2015 and 2016 versions of the survey respectively.

Kelly Simmons, Director of Participation and Development, said: “Since launching in 2015, the Grassroots Survey has started to become a fixture of the football season at this level.

“The past two editions have informed our understanding of the game by providing those that know and understand it best with an opportunity to have their voices heard.

“The real and measurable feedback provided in this survey will allow us to continue prioritising and maximising in the areas that really matter, so I would encourage everyone who is directly involved in the game to take part.”

Responses in previous years have successfully highlighted areas of particular importance to the grassroots community, including; general satisfaction with County FAs, rating of pitch availability and quality, parent’s opinions as to the standard of football played by their children and receiving updates from The FA and County FAs.It is hoped that this year’s edition will draw in an even greater level of responses, highlight progress made and indicate any remaining challenges in order to deliver open and flexible playing opportunities For All.

Visit TheFA.com/HaveYourSay by Monday 30 October to complete the 2017 Grassroots Football Survey.

 

The ‘magic’ of the FA Cup for U9’s Coach Justin

The ‘magic’ of the FA Cup was certainly alive in this third round qualifying tie replay with Stratford Town at home to Scarborough AFC

I was there as coach of Stratford Town’s U9’s who were official mascots for the match and an end to end match went into ET.

In the 100th minute, the ref went down injured and a call went out over the tannoy for any official that may be in the crowd to step in and ensure the match could be finished. Under immediate pressure from our 8yr old son, Arlen and a fellow parent, I took the plunge in front of 500 spectators with over £7k awaiting the winners.

I had ‘retired’ from grassroots refereeing at the end of 2015/16 season to coach my team and not picked up a whistle/flag since. I was briefed quickly by the ‘new’ ref and it was only when I got my flag in hand, I realised the task at hand!

Scarborough fans chanting I would be biased, Stratford fans asking me to do them a ‘favour’. I was nervous, excited, proud but overall, did not want to create further controversy and give a ‘dodgy’ decision. I ended giving 4 throw ins and kept my flag down for Scarborough’s 4th goal – phew ! However tense the game was – it was 1-1 when I came on – I would do it again and keep our spirit of grassroots alive.

It was an honour to be involved (shame we lost, though !)

Justin Keaney

Kids “released” age 9 in Grassroots, really!!!

Right where do I start?

For over a decade I have been involved in the local football league. During this period I have spent time as a coach, mentor, referee, physio, kit man, refreshments stall worker etc. For the past two years I’ve been spending my Sundays as a League Rep at local youth games.

Recently I came across a team I briefly coached a couple of years ago. Lads of 9 years age now but I noticed a couple of the lads I remembered were missing. I asked some of the parents where these lads were. I assumed they had been lured away by the modern life of computer games and had lost interest in football. A parent rather sheepishly told me that they had been ‘released’ as they weren’t of the standard of the others. I asked them if they thought that was fair to them. The parent agreed it was slightly underhand but understood the coach’s views.

My response was “the team has a coach”? The parent was taken aback and I carried on by telling him that if he was any kind of coach then dropping kids and replacing them with better ability kids isn’t coaching. A coach can bring out ability. I’m not saying a Pele can be created from nothing but given good coaching a kid can be taught to play the game well. These kids who were cast aside were good kids with equally good parents and it makes me genuinely sad to think these kids have been removed from a team with their mates due to the fact that their coach lacks the skills to develop them. I left the parents with a warning that a coach with such a big ego will always be looking for better players and to watch their backs because if their kids fail to perform their coach won’t have any hesitation in replacing them too.

This sadly happens all too often and these coaches should hang their heads in shame. They bandy words like ‘development’ and ‘respect’ around……………..rubbish, talk is cheap and their actions speak far louder than their hypocritical rhetoric. Hats off to the genuine coaches out there developing kids with skills and attributes that will enhance their lives rather than the ‘poach not coach’ types so desperate to win games to massage their egos. I’m afraid the youth football at grassroots level is in a dire situation in this country. A huge shake up is needed and despite the FA guidleines and good practice ethics these egomaniac coaches exist in huge numbers up and down the country.

Yours in Sport

Phil

Club Install Life-Saving Defibrillator

Areley kings fc have recently taken delivery of a life saving defibrillator for its ground on Stourport Road, club youth secretary Dee Carter said “ the committee has been looking at buying a defibrillator for some time but the cost was prohibitive so when the FA and British Heart Foundation offered them to Charter Standard Clubs we applied straight away and are really pleased our application was successful”

Areley kings FC Chairman Biil Preece added “ the defibrillator is accessible during all training sessions and matches held at our ground and during the day when our facilities are used by Harriers Academy, we currently have a few club members trained to use the equipment but are looking to roll out this training to all our youth team and senior managers over the coming months”

(FA representative Craig Williams is seen handing over the defibrillator to Dee Carter, Bill Preece watched on by U10 youth player Charlie Gwilliam.)

To apply for the FA subsidised De-Fib scheme click HERE