Academy NewsClub newsJon Reay: Should results matter at youth level?

April 10, 20170

PrintJon Reay is current head coach for our u9 and u10 academy squads. Jon joined the Club only a few months after it formed in 2012 and has been involved ever since. He captained the men’s senior team in the FA Futsal Super League and has played a huge part getting the Club to where it is today. His passion for Futsal and excellent coaching skills make him an invaluable member of the team. Here is his second blog piece for the Club.

 

Should results matter in youth football?

It’s a question that always comes up when discussing youth Football/Futsal either with parents or fellow coaches.

In general, in my experience, with coaches you tend to find a decisive split.
Some are all about results and will do whatever it takes to get a win or remain unbeaten. Others are totally against results claiming it’s all about opportunities, having fun, making friends and so on.

I find parents are one or the other as well, some enjoy watching ‘their team’ demolish opponents whilst others just love seeing their child playing, enjoying exercise amongst their friends win, lose or draw.

So is there a middle ground? (I hear you ask).

Well to stop being a politician & answer the question my response is.. “depends who you are asking!”

If you are asking a coach then Id say the answer is NO. I don’t think a coach should be focused on results but instead on the development of the players, individually and collectively as a group/team. The danger for the ‘win at all costs’ type coaches is they can become obsessed with their own agenda, sacrificing the individual development needs just for a win, to boost their ego and reputation.

If you are asking players then my answer is YES.
Young players are naturally competitive and we shouldn’t take that away by simply dismissing results. You can guarantee every goal matters in the playground during school dinner-time… right up until the bell rings! Should it be any different at training or at the weekend?

For instance you can give the impression that effort isn’t required or important if every time you describe a scoreline as ‘it doesn’t matter’. Also as part of the learning and development process players need to understand how to behave appropriately in victory and in defeat.

I appreciate different scenarios will require a different coaching approach and situations can vary. But I’m of the belief that you should encourage competitive instincts by allowing the youth players to take an interest in results wether it’s a mini 2v2 drill or an actual match at the Wk end.

Crucially this can still be done in a safe, fun environment with development always the main focus.

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