3 Tips for Choosing the Right Football Team for Your Child

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It is the start of the new season and many parents will have just got their players into a new football team or some may still be looking for a new team, so we thought we would provide you with three tips for choosing the best club for your child.

 

1. Check the training

Try out the training at 2 to 3 football clubs in your area and look out for things like:
How often does your player have the ball at their feet?
Are they active for a majority of the session or are they just stood around listening to to the coach?
How many players are actually at the session and how many teams does the does the club have?
If your player is surrounded by another 40 players and there is only one team you may need to take a view on it and think how much chance does my player have of playing on a Sunday if they are going against all of these players

 

2. Ask the right questions

Kids have a great way of telling adult what they think we want to hear.
Instead of asking questions such as, ‘did you enjoy it?’ and ‘did you learn anything?’ Ask these questions:
What did you enjoy most?
What was the main thing you learnt?
These questions get your player thinking and from that you will be able to gauge if they actually did enjoy.
It will open up into a conversation and you can then tell if that training session was suitable for your child.
3. Talk to the coach
Sounds obvious but you learn a lot just by talking to the coach to see how they come across.
Are they the type of person you would want coaching your child?
Good questions to ask them are things like:
Do they have set positions for each player? It’s important your child is given a chance to learn the game and being given a position at a very young age can be detrimental to their development.
You want to be joining a team that promotes time in a varied amount of positions over the course of the season.
What is their plan is on development?
This is important because you want to be joining a team that is focused on individual development over winning
If the coaches focus purely on winning at the expense of actually developing each individual player, you need to question whether that is the team for you
Particularly in the primary school years it is important the children are given the chance to develop their football ability and they may not get this if the manager is focused only on winning above the needs of each individual.
Choosing the right team can be tricky and it is even harder if you, as a parent, have never played/coached or even been interested in football in the past.
Hopefully the tips above can give you some help.
If you’d like to speak to us for advice please email foot-techacademy@outlook.com
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The 8-year-old centre back

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The 8-year-old centre back

As a company that offers children’s football coaching in Leeds we are fortunate to speak to a variety of parents and grassroots football coaches on a regular basis, so we get a good feel for how things are progressing in the junior game.

One common thing we hear goes along the lines of, ‘my son/daughter is a central midfielder for their team’.

Said player is between the age of 6-11 and central midfield could be defender, striker etc etc. You get the idea.

We often bite our tongues and nod.

In reality we want to scream – WHO ON EARTH IS TELLING YOU THAT YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD IS A CENTRE BACK!!!

Look, we are in a unique position in that we coach junior footballers but don’t need to pick a team on a Sunday and handle all the issues/politics that go with that.

But we have spent years researching, learning and observing all things kids football coaching and one thing that is clear is that pigeon-holing a primary school footballer into a position at such a young age does more harm than good.

This was a topic of discussion at our coach education trip to Benfica Academy.

British footballers are finally starting to catch up from a technical point of view but we are light-years behind when it comes to ‘football intelligence’.

Many foreign players are ahead of British youngsters because they have had exposure to playing in different positions at a young age, so they understand the whole game far better than a player who has spent all their time playing in one role.

So, how do we solve this?

As a parent it comes down to whether you are happy for your child to join a team that focuses on development over winning.

Teams that have individual-focused coaches may not win every week but I would bet that, in the long-run, your player would develop more than those in teams that concentrate on winning at all costs.

You’ll have seen those teams before – set positions, ‘big, strong lads’ everywhere and coaches who mainly care about telling everyone at work on Monday that they are the next Guardiola.

The balance is a tough one for coaches when it comes to individual development and keeping everyone happy by way of winning football matches.

That is when you, as a parent, can help by supporting them and getting behind what they are trying to do. It is in the best interests of your child and that should be put first.