What a Shame!

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.

12 thoughts on “What a Shame!

  1. Totally agree! Japan and Brazil at the Olympics have shown the way as are Spain in both the U17 World Cup recently and the U19 Euro’s. New Zealand have the players capable of playing the same way I but as yet they have not been allowed to break through into the senior national team.

  2. I have to disagree in this instance. The women showed great personal skill against Brazil and others they tried really hard against Canada. What they were deficient was a coach. Hope could have changed that game. A perfect examAmple of how a coach can make a difference. No plan b and half time influence was negligible. 2-0 down at 60 minutes tired legs and still no real subs till 80 mins please! The women were technically good enought to create oportunities. The coach did not direct the finish. To shoot on the ‘s’ of shot and not the T could have made a large difference. Well done GB LADIES looking forward to see how you play under positive direction.

  3. John i,m afraid you are right …. I have to agree
    I think our girls did well and show more promise than our men… It is to similar to our men’s game… You only have to look at the Japanese girls to see they have surpassed their men in the development of there game To realise what can be achieved .. There is some fantastic talent in the girls game coming through will its true potential be realised…?
    I do feel that the women have a chance to play a totally different game to the men ..our British girls are closer to the summit than the men and have a chance to be the flag bearers that our boys can’t by going a different development model… Because of as you mentioned not relying on physical strength, aggression speed… and fitness… I have yet to here the words skill, flair, individualism as an every training session bedrock. … in the 3 years my daughter has been in the system….. There is good work being done in changing the structure of when they play 11 v 11 and playing out from the back… But it is obvious that the coaching model is not thorough enough or well enough designed… The detail is not there in anything like the quality or quantity I have experienced in doing the practice play coach education courses as compared to what I have done on the fa courses…
    I truly believe our coaches don’t know how to integrate individualism in there teams and would strangle and extinguish it ….culturally we don’t admire it.. We don’t like fancy dans .. Remember the criticism cristiano ronaldo took when he first started playing here… We admire grit and hard work …
    Frustration led me to find premier skills and keep the ball,
    It is a reflection of our coach education… There are improvements but not fundamentally deep enough or well enough thought out as far as I can see…
    British cycling and rowing have programs that are obviously are well structured yet our national sport with all it’s money and hype is poor… In comparison.

  4. I have felt for some time that the womens’ game has been going in the wong direction, especially in this country, with its emphasis on physicality and direct play. When the seeds of popularity were being sown in this country a few years ago a great opportunity was missed to develop a different game played by our men for generations, and instead we have an immitation of the mens’ game. I am afraid that the National Coaching Scheme must take reponsibility for this because they have failed to provide the coaching methodology to influence the girls and women in a different direction.
    From what I have seen Japan is by far the best womens’ team in terms of quality and game style, both at last year’s World Cup and this year’s Olympics. It seems to me that they have purposely developed a style which they considered is an image of the outstanding Spaniards and would therefore be best suited to the strengths of the female player.
    I am disappointed that Brazil’s girls and women appear to have gone in the opposite direction, especially when you consider what their men have given to football for so many years. They have players of good technique, but their game style has too much of an athletic edge. They have a talented player in Marta, but her effect is due predominantly to physical qualities.
    The USA seem to have developed their womens’ game on primarily athleticsm but i was interested to read a quote by one of their players recently when she drew attention to the ‘tiki taka’ style of the Japanese and suggested that this was perhaps how they should now direct their game style. It is good that they see a need to change after all the success they have enjoyed with a more physical approach over the years. But will we follow suit by seeing the need to change?

  5. i agree with you john the only player i saw with great skill on the ball was kelly smith and she wasnt fully fit.

    john i wonder what you thought of the spanish mens team going out early in the Olympics do you think its because of the lack of passing variations that you talked about in other posts?

  6. In reply to Joe94, I saw Spains’ Mens team 0-1 defeat to Japan in an early Group fixture and their problem was lack of penetation even though they had a great deal of possession. they also were hasndicapped by a red card received in the first half. But the Japanese men, like the Japanese womens’ team, work very hard at defending by keeping possession, taking a leaf from the Barcelona/Spain book, and of course in the way that Swansea played in the Premier League last season.
    Both Japanese teams close down very quickly when the opposition get the ball to prevent them penetrating and to prevent the exposure to high balls which is obvious due to their lack of inches. In the womens’ semi final yesterday, France tried to exploit this with an aeriel approach but Japan prevented crosses as often as possible by closing down the player in possession as early as possible when they they had possession in wide areas. I expect a similar scenario in the Final against the physically big and stronger USA.

  7. Hi Brazil94……I agree that the playing style of a nation will be driven by the methodology of that country’s National Coaching Scheme. But I think that when womens’ football started to grow in global popularity with serious teams and competition, then FIFA should have stepped in with a coaching procedure directly aimed at women and girls and not just a mirror image of what is given to men and boys. Instead, they come out with stupid comments about length of shorts etc.
    I have been under the impression that womens’ tennis has a different methodology behind it because they simply cannot perform with the same kind of power play as men, although I realise that the Williams sisters seem to have changed that perception.
    However, I feel that at the moment Japan have the best balance between the necessary athleticism which enables them to defend by pressing energetically in all parts of the field, and the technical skill and intelligence to hurt the opposition when in possession. Which is no different from the qualities required from a mens’ team after all.

  8. And of course FIFA – Blatter/Havelange – would have been welcome with open arms by their bestist buddies the FA!

    To what extent do FIFA care if England buggers up how it goes about playing or coaching the game? And to what extent does the average bloke care either about how the ball is delivered (Argh) or should I say ‘airmail posted’ up the pitch??

    So one would expect the British women’s team to be quite horrible!

  9. Hi Brazil94. I entitled the ‘blog’ – WHAT A SHAME – because we missed an opportunity in the women’s game to make changes to the way we think and play the game here. A great opportunity was missed to find a better way to produce and play the game that would have taken in cultural as well as playing requirements. The coaching, development and play of our ladies has followed that of the men and it is obvious to all that the same playing limitations have settled on them.
    I believe that the women’s game her could have provided the chance to experiment with all aspects of development and playing. Individual skill allied to improved playing systems and methods should have been encouraged. Unfortunately winning has become a priority in the women’s game as it is in the men’s — like the men, they are trying to win without the correct ‘tools’ and working habits to do the job properly……. WHAT A SHAME!!

  10. Totally agree John; but also totally expected because then they would be admitting that they are wrong and they won’t do that in a hurry!

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