By John Cartwright
Women’s football has grown in this country and although it still receives less support than that of other major women’s football nations it is making progress in terms of recognition by the general football public. The GB team that has represented these islands at the 2012 Olympics has shown all the usual playing qualities one expects from football teams’ from this country; organization, endurance, speed, determination, team-spirit, but what is missing is INDIVIDUAL SKILLS! – skills that can be used in personal situations and skills that can be used to combine effectively with team-mates. The women fail in the same way as their male counterparts; they have learned to play simplistic football based on organization and effort and this will never result in producing players or teams capable of winning at the highest levels.
All the sweat and hard work that goes into poor practice time is indeed a waste of time if the playing method only engages simplistic playing qualities. The women’s game could and should have recognized the limitations of the men’s game here and taken a more skilful and creative playing route. Women’s football tends to follow the playing method of the men’s game of their own countries; for some it is a pass and move style whilst others prefer a more physical concept. Our women have had ample opportunity to see the ‘holes’ in our playing strategy over the years and, with less pressure on them to achieve results, it would have been an interesting opportunity for women to establish a more skilful and creative playing style on the game here.
Nothing is more damning with regards to The FA Coaching methods than the lack of skills observable in our women’s game. Our women have received a similar football upbringing in both terms of education and playing infrastructure and the result is a copy-cat version of the men’s failure to support passion with more individual/team creativity and panache in their game.
The overuse of the long ball; the lack of positional rotations, clever combination movements in tight areas is unseen, etc. etc. All one needs to reflect on is the poor standards set by our men’s football to see the same in our women’s game.
Women’s football provides a great chance to try a different approach to the way we think about and play the game. Because it has a less physical standing than the more stronger male format, it provides coaching with an extraordinary chance to re-model the game here. From junior levels more emphasis should have been placed on individualism and this skill development should have been nurtured throughout the playing structure during the whole of the development period. We should have been producing world-class players able to compete on more than equal terms with any nation involved in women’s football; we didn’t and we don’t and the blame is squarely on the back of coaching and development methods used here. Like so many young boys, our young football-loving young girls will experience playing a game that fails to supply the correct teaching and learning methods to them. Physical will be admired more than panache and sweat will continue to be glorified instead of skills.
The women’s game is yet another signpost that points towards the continued lack of direction of football in the UK. Women’s football is in dire need of a futuristic approach in the way they play. Our girls and ladies must become today’s Emily Pankhurst … fighting for the ‘vote’ to play with skill and flair, and not ‘chained’ to play ‘ugly’ football in the same manner as their failed male counterparts.