JUNIORS I Teach players to ‘overcome coaching’

We live in a correct answer culture where (quite often but not always) children value getting the answer right (because they’ve been told to do something/ they know they will be praised for doing the thing the adults want them to do), rather than trying to come up with a creative solution which may or may not work.

Allow players to fail and encourage them to try again. And don’t tell them to keep passing it (let them decide what to do), rather, help them to understand when to pass it, dribble it, shoot or protect it.

Recently I saw a player ’round’ 5 players and score, incredibly, there was a reluctant clap or a “clappy groan” resonate from the sidelines…. and the only thing I could put my finger on as to why there wasn’t ecstatic scenes for one of the best goals in Junior football ever, was because it wasn’t a “team” goal. We’re obsessed with the concept of team. Thats important, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of successful or unsuccessful attempts at individual skill. Players like Messi et al, didn’t have a go at dribbling, lose it, then be told to pass it because they didn’t succeed….. they got back up and tried again and were encouraged to try again for years. (and this isn’t my opinion, its well known)

We suffer from cutting tall poppies down early (because we want our son/ daughter to fit in or be part of the “pack”) whereas, we should be of the opinion that we should celebrate the fact that a child can take on 10 players and score… otherwise we will still continue to generate excellent defenders, but then wonder why we lack creative players in the game in NZ


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