Club Responds with the Right Decision

When the village boys’ team appointed a new manager, they were not expecting a boss with the fervour of a Jose Mourinho or a Sir Alex Ferguson.

So parents of the under-10s side were aghast when a coach, outlined his win-at-all-costs philosophy. The coach (as reported on the Mail online, 3rd December 2013), insisted he was not there so the boys could have fun playing football – he was ‘only interested in winning’. He said parents who complained when their boy did not make the first team were ‘not doing their sons any favours’. Those who opposed him were ‘weak-minded’ and ‘think sport is about knitting’.

The volunteer coach outlined his forthright views in an email to parents at Chalfont St Peter’s Football Club in Buckinghamshire. Four days later, despite his team’s success on the pitch, he suffered a fate familiar to many a Premier League boss... he was fired BY THE CLUB. Well done to Chalfont St Peter’s Football Club.

In his email, the coach, who had coached the under 10s for more than two years, told parents: ‘I am only interested in winning. I don’t care about equal play time or any other communist view of sport. Those that are not as good need to work harder or demonstrate more during training, or change sports.’

I am sure in Leicestershire & Rutland, on a Sunday morning, where mini-soccer and junior football (boys or girls) is being played, you would have witnessed some form of poor practice. A list has been collected to highlight what gets shouted from the touchline by coaches and parents telling the kids what to do. But.....

  • Do they realise the picture these young players see, is completely different to what they see from the touchline?
  • Do they realise that these young players are entitled to make decisions of their own?
  • Do they realise that these players are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them?
  • Do they realise managers and coaches do not need to stand inside the pitch as if they want to hold the player’s hand and glide him/her through to score a goal?
  • Do they need to shout – Pass. Next move. Get rid. Get struck in. What are you doing? Not there! (using a trick picked up in practice or watching a favourite player). Can’t hear you. Stretch them out. Nothing fancy now!. Are you going to put a tackle in? ......................... It is exhausting just listening! Are we surprised our players want to leave the game they love?

Whilst we compliment and praise the club in Buckinghamshire, a year ago to the day, a qualified U7’s coach who is also a respected FA Level 1 Licensed Tutor got the sack from his grassroots club in Leicestershire, because the parents did not like to see the team losing games so they complained to the club.

Why did the club not back the coach who was creating a positive learning environment by using the coaching philosophy of the future game, the new concept of the new learning? More qualified than anyone on that day where the environment was created to allow players to make their own decisions, have fun and enjoy the experience. Learning takes time doesn’t it?

Another example this time a coach who boasted he had 'dropped' a player because he would not pass. Asked the coach would he drop Messi for his dribbling? Does he realise that Messi was ALLOWED to dribble and that is why he got to master his unique technique? 

Luckily these individuals are in the minority as the majority of youth coaches are really good and set a positive example for the children in their care.

Coaches who attend the FA Youth Module 1 and 2, embrace the FA Tesco skills Programme and those who place the players at the centre of their learning are all positive role models and will see the fruit of their hard work in time. Keep up the good work!

More on this topic

Coming soon to BBC Radio Leicester - Tuesday evening, 17th December at 6.50pm. Hot topic – Let the players play the game.

To find out more about the future game and the new playing and coaching philosophy, please visit:

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