My view on a youth summer season
December 16, 2010 5 Comments
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.