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