I have just returned from observing the Premier Skills Practice Play level 2 course for the second time in a couple of weeks. On my journey home I was thinking about how grateful I am as a coach to have been introduced to the Premier Skills Practice Play methodology many years ago. It also got me thinking about my own playing career or lack of it more like!
I played my last competitive game at the age of 20, it was for a semi professional side but I had lost interest with the way the game was played, even at that age I had a very clear vision in my mind how I thought the game should be played and trying to play football when everybody else was playing fightball proved to be very difficult.
Fast forward 7 years and my younger brother who had been in the academy system for 10years from the age of 9-19 decided he had played his last game at the tender age of 21. The more I thought back the more I realised that we were not alone, lots of good talented players that me and my brother grew up with had all stopped playing at an early age! What scared me even more was the players who were still playing were the physical and powerful players with little skill and grace.
My question to you is can you be certain that you are providing an environment that allows your young players to flourish? Are you providing your young players with a football and life education? or are your actions and words indicating to your players that development comes from victory and not individual improvement?
As John Cartwright often alludes to football is a game for skilful individuals, let’s give these individuals the opportunity to showcase what they can do! Do not change your beliefs and football philosophy to conform to beliefs that you do not agree with!
Our next generation of players from grassroots through to youth level deserve this. They deserve the opportunity to enjoy their football and play the game they have fallen in love with in the manner that attracted them to the game in the first place.
Too many times I hear I’ve had to sign a big lad to bolster up the team, too many times I hear we need to toughen up. I work with children day in and day out and never see any child pick their team mates because of their size and strength!
Will your players look back in ten or twenty years and be grateful? Grateful for the opportunities that you have bestowed upon them, grateful that you have helped them to become the best they can be and grateful that you have allowed them to learn the game the way they wanted it to be taught?