The courses I completed did touch on parental behaviour, especially in the breaks when coaches get together to share war stories and tips. This element of the courses should not be underestimated – or forsaken by spending lunch on the phone. I found the knowledge picked up on the Youth Module courses – and the qualification – gave me the confidence and status to tell parents to be quieter.
Most parents are a positive force, whether helping put the goals up, acting as a taxi service, or simply persuading little Jonny or Jenny to get up on a cold winter’s morning. However, even some of the knowledgeable and well-meaning ones can be a problem. A parent may know the game, but they might not know your gameplan. If they give contradictory instructions who’s the child going to listen to? I try and explain all this at the start of the season. Most take it on board, but others need reminders.
So much for the grown-ups. The ones that matter are the players. I aim to be positive before and after games. In-game instruction is restricted to off-the ball positional information (especially as we have just begun playing offside). When a player is on the ball I want them to make their own decision. If they make the wrong one I can have a quiet word later in one of the breaks and ask what they could have done differently.
Making such notes is one reason I often have paper and pen handy – as well as remembering positions as I try and mix them up over the season. This may weaken the team in the short term but it gives everyone a chance of playing centre-forward, of learning from different roles, and sometimes unexpectedly finding their right position.
That’s a key message the FA Youth Modules reinforced. Winning is not everything. Kids, parents, myself, all want to win, very much so, but I have come to appreciate it is more rewarding seeing individuals improve as players and grow in self-esteem, than racking up trophies. And, honestly, I don’t just tell myself that when we lose.
Article courtesy of the FA Bootroom