By Stephen Roberts
Can you remember your first coach? I can it was my parents!!
Parents? Yes parents, they introduced me to the game and acted as your first coach without you even knowing it. Firstly they exposed you to a ball, which was thrown and kicked around the house until you could kick or throw it a little bit too hard for indoors and were ushered outside to play.
This is when your parents really became your first coach! I am sure lots of you can remember chasing after Mum or Dad in the garden or park whilst they dribbled around you until you did not see the funny side of it anymore and passed you the ball, before you set off on your somewhat shorter dribble before they nicked the ball back off you!
Then came the passing, the ball being passed back and forth between you and your parent with no mention of angle of approach, where your standing foot should be or how to strike the ball. You were getting your very first insight into the game with no formal coaching just learning on the job so to speak.
Even at this young age you soon realised that to be a player you had to have the ball at your feet and you dribbled the ball and learnt to turn and change direction all on your own whilst gradually keeping the ball away from your parent just a little bit longer every time.
The parent as first coach role is now even more important, gone are the days when you could play outside on the street or over the park without your parents having a heart attack through worry.
Hence the rise of the coaching entrepreneur! Why would you want to let a ‘Coach/entrepreneur who has spotted an opening in the market be your child’s first coach. A level 1 certificate, a CRB check and insurance and away they go. A child’s natural instinct is to take touches on the ball, move with the ball and be clever with the ball, it is often the coaches influence that alters this mentality to that of pass, pass, pass and in some cases whack, whack, whack
Let’s get children playing with their parents again. Let’s upskill the parents so they can subtlety feed their child with the correct information and further enhance the learning process, not the coaching entrepreneur who is more concerned about the pounds and pence than your child’s development.
I hear and see at grassroots levels the varying roles of the parents, from chaperone to parent/manager, pushy parent, desperate to win parent, let the child play parent and the scream and shout parent.
As a footballing nation we should be doing more with the parents to educate and raise awareness of the importance of the individual and to enhance a club culture where everybody is heading in the same direction with the child’s development as a player and person at the forefront of this journey.
At Premier Skills we have worked extensively with grassroots coaches, parents and players and have devised the ‘Parent as the First Coach’ workshop which includes:
- The role of the parent coach
- Foundation skills
- Individual and team analysis
- Matchday preparation
As coaches we always show a thirst for knowledge, let’s see if the parents want to join you coaches on their child’s footballing journey! I hope you’ll be surprised.