My view on a youth summer season

I must admit, when I first read this BBC article by Alistair Magowan I wasn’t immediately bought in to Sam Allardyce view that we should move the youth season to the summer months. It feels a bit like another Englishman coming up with another reason why we’re not developing enough players of world-class calibre in this country.

For a long time I’ve felt that we don’t provide the right facilities for young footballers (or any young sportsperson)in this country and I believe we’re well behind the continent when it comes to the availability of these facilities. You only have to go on holiday to any one of a number of European countries to see the volume of really impressive all-weather sports venues dotted around. In England, or in fact Britain, we don’t appear to have invested in these facilities and even where they do exist the cost of hiring them can be outrageously high.

Therefore, as well as not having a high enough number of enthusiastic, qualified coaches who’re bought in to the larger ethos, we don’t have enough top-quality environments for our young players to play on and develop.

However, one point that Eric Harrison makes in the article is a very good one, he states, “If youth football was in summer, players can actually listen to the coaches in pleasurable conditions when they are talking on the pitch”. This is where we also start to see real value being added. On the one hand, there is no point having lots of qualified coaches if we don’t have the facilities for them to deliver their sessions but on the other, there’s no point in having large numbers of qualified coaches if they’re lacking the time to coach, something which is certainly impacted by the colder weather.  The quickest way to address this is to move the youth season to the summer months.

One thing is clear, we need to do whatever we can to maximise the amount of time our young players get to spend with enthusiastic qualified coaches and if that means move the youth season to the summer months then I’m right behind it.


About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

5 Responses to My view on a youth summer season

  1. Hey Simon,

    That’s a really important distinction regarding the importance of better facilities:

    a) Players get more game time, more touches and more success on dry pitches.
    b) Coaches get more continuity, time with players and have more options in training.

    I agree that shifting to a summer season is the quickest way to move towards this improved situation.

    However – and in response to some of the inevitable challenges to this idea – I don’t think that the months we play is as important as the facilities we have available.

    Almost all Academy teams have access to excellent indoor pitches so they aren’t as adversely affected by the weather. Rather it’s grassroots players who are in need of more and more affordable indoor pitches.

    Great to see so many bloggers keeping the focus on improving youth football in our country.

  2. Coachandy says:

    Interesting points

    For me it also not that the funding isnt there……its having the knowledge and apptitufe to go out and get it. I know of a local primary school (not private) that has a fully equipped gym and an all weather pitch – A primary school! No if they “How to” was made more public then things could be different/

    • Simon says:

      That’s a very good point Andy, I’ve also seen a disproportionate sharing of funding and facilities. I’d naively suggest that availability of such facilities are more of a problem in rural areas but that’s without knowing what’s available in cities.

      We’re lucky to have an all-weather surface in our village and there are a few dotted around but I’m not sure how many are used by youth sides.

  3. I agree that any move to summer would be a good thing but I’m sure there would be strong resistance from the traditional summer sports like cricket and athletics.
    Quality indoor facilities would help but, realistically speaking, that ‘s not going to happen anytime soon.
    Perhaps legislation is needed to encourage those with good facilities to make them available to the wider community.
    I’ve found Futsal to be a useful way of bridging the gap between the indoor and outdoor games when the weather turns bad.
    Like today!.

    • Simon says:

      Steve – thank you. Someone’s finally forced me to find out /exactly/ what Futsal is!

      I’m not sure a summer season would detract from the number of players taking part in cricket or athletics, there’s plenty of time to go round. However, it might be unfair and longer term we might see an impact in those sports which wouldn’t be a positive thing.


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