Coaching: Keeping it uncomplicated

It occurred to me earlier today that coaching young footballers is (and should be) uncomplicated but coaches can get it wrong by making it complicated. Uncomplicated though, does not mean easy.

What do I mean?

There was some excellent discussion on Twitter earlier amongst coaches following a particular question which I posted up on behalf of another coach. The question centered around an under 11 player and we discussed what the best position might be for him to play and how a coach might go about improving his speed but whilst we pondered the answers to this question we were missing a very important point – is he enjoying his football?

When asked the question I found myself started thinking about the footballing answers when in actual fact I needed a different hat on, my youth coach hat. What a youth coach asks himself is – is this boy enjoying his football? Are we giving him opportunities to try different positions and, why are we worrying about improving his speed (which in itself is really a genetic attribute) at 11 years of age?

It would be easy as a coach to start thinking too deeply about player development, positions and systems when coaching a young age group and the danger of this would be that the complexity is passed on to your players. Young footballers don’t want complexity, complexity isn’t fun and the impact of this could be a young player losing interest in the game because you’re not allowing him or her the freedom to grow naturally, develop naturally and enjoy their football.

Youth football coaches have other challenges which mean the role is not simple but we shouldn’t make it complicated, instead we should focus on making it fun, fair and teach the basics. There’s plenty of time at a later stage for complexity – experienced football coaches will tell you this and I think I’ve realised it today.


About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

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