Welcome to what will be our first real go at this online malarkey they call blogging.
Myself and Chris have often spoken about the idea of jotting down our ten pence worth for anyone that has
a) plenty of time on their hands or
b) that may just be willing to listen.
It also ties in well with us having the website and trying to stay active within it. Our content may be erratic at times, and we will always hold the responsibility for our individual thoughts and comments. Believe it or not, as a duo we sometimes disagree on a whole range of things, so we don’t expect everyone to agree with what we are saying either. Everyone’s opinion and outlook counts however, and we’d love for you guys to share your own accounts on our subjects too.
To kick start our first official post, I’m going to pose the question and then bring something to your attention. Now this topic is a potential can of worms and one that most will already have an opinion on.
The decline in quality right across the board within Scottish football.
Having recently viewed a post on Twitter I read the caption of a photo declaring “12 year old’s training and not a football in sight”. This subject has always brought me back to questioning where the game has gone. Looking at a giant hill set out with cones will forever give me shudders at the best of times but for 12 year old’s standing at the bottom of it, the whole situation begins to baffle me. With all the new age technology and access to resources, why is it that our country continually struggles to produce the same level of product as countries with a similar population to our own. This debate opens up a lot of ground and blame is sporadically placed on many different shoulders although its a situation that somehow needs addressed. We are on the opposite side of the saying “if it’s not broken there’s no need to fix it”. The harsh reality is that there is potentially so much wrong with our game that no one actually knows where to start. Is it an issue from the top? Or do we have to take responsibility at the bottom as grass root coaches?. Have the generations changed? meaning kids are left with much more choice and opportunities which then entails that dedication to one discipline is a thing of the past?. There’s lots of question marks. One thing that’s for sure is that kids nowadays are way more ahead of their time than I can remember being when I was growing up. They come to sessions with better phones than the coaches, all the new and most expensive kit, the internet is readily accessible at the press of a button and with all the new age apps on their state of the art iPads basically telling them what Mum and Dad need to buy next. Social media outlets have also crept in and now the world is craving the attention and love from it’s “followers”. I feel kids are more than ever before aware of the world outside their little bubble. Now that’s not a dig at parents for allowing children these things. Everyone has to keep up. We live in that type of society but is this a good thing? Does this not add slightly to the overall problem which we face, not just in football but in other sports too?. Working with kids for as long as I have I find that due to some of the above reasons they can become more impatient and frustrated as the months roll on. Kids often see the finished article. The sportsperson with the mega buck deals. The rising star with 1 million hits on youtube. This again relates back to our society. It doesn’t in my opinion show the defining sacrifice. The hours put in to achieve the end goal. The many hurdles overcame and the perseverance to get to the pinnacle platform they’re on. Everything is desired tomorrow in this generation. Duly because this is what their little minds believe it to be. It becomes a constant pressure in my opinion. Children wanting to get there as fast as they can without the understanding and sometimes appreciation of how long the process can take. Some give up and decide on other things without even allowing their abilities to fully flourish and mature. Society may have a lot to answer for where that’s concerned. Growing up for me meant technology and games consoles were always a straight forward second. Nothing took the place of running home from school and playing for as long as you could with your pals before the dinner bell rang and then pleading for a couple of more hours after you done your homework i don’t think there’s enough of that nowadays. So when you do manage to get the kids away from the console and social media you have to find a way to engage them. Children and youths do have a wider range of knowledge thus meaning they also need to be challenged on a greater scale. It brings me on to my second and last point before I lose you all. Children more than before are now asking questions and if they aren’t asking questions they are generating their own outcomes. Rolling back the years again, I can’t ever remember questioning a coach or thinking I might have had a better solution. An adult was the law and you got on with whatever session was put in front of you. The one thing kids demand now which isn’t a bad thing is the need to be challenged in what they are doing. They have watched the same shooting sessions on youtube that you are walking through at your practice. This for me is where I think football in our country has however become too complicated especially when directed at a younger age. Kids have fragile minds and fragile personalities. It’s always important that you don’t take their confidence away with the things you try to pitch at them. To my earlier point about the kids running up and down a hill at twelve years old. That’s just nonsense. I think as a coach you have a responsibility to keep it challenging but fun. You don’t have to be Sir Alex and you certainly don’t need to re-invent the wheel. And ask the kids. Let them be your biggest critics after a session. I think a lot of coaches at youth level are happy to get their name on their kit, shout and moan at the little ones and completely forget why they signed up in the first place. It always has to be about their enjoyment first. Once you have their attention then you can start to develop their abilities in a positive light. The amount of material you have from a coaching manual will never make you a great coach to the kids, a great enthusiasm within what you are doing however will. The best coaches I worked under managed to get more out of me due to their personalities not due to their ability to ruin my happiness with drill after drill. Lazy coaching is an issue and this leads to kids throwing in the towel. Let them play. Use a ball. It’s as simple as that. And breathe. Is it less practice? Poor coaching? More opportunities? A negative message from the top? Added distractions? Maybe a mixture of all? Not all will agree, some will dispute. That’s why we all love the game right there. My mind is always open and i’m forever willing learn from others. I suppose it’s what you take out of things and tweak to represent your own view. Football is littered with many opinions. This one is just mine.