Youth football is about fun for the young footballers, many of whom want to play and possibly be like their professional football heroes, or simply want to get in shape, be part of a team or meet new people.
So with that in mind, the basic objectives of youth football coaching are to: initially create a fun environment for the players and help the players to develop physical, mental and social skills.
Working with young people can be great fun yet sometimes tedious. So the role of a Football Coach can have a tremendous influence on a young player’s development and enjoyment each and every coaching session.
The Coach is seen as the teacher and youth football coaching, like in any other sports, involves a heavy workload and responsibility for delivering various activities geared towards helping these ‘wannabe’ football players achieve their potential.
Obstacles to Effective Youth Football Coaching
The main challenges faced by football coaches are:
- Parents – some parents want to see their children become football stars overnight hence they get really agitated when things are not going the way they expect or their children are not making progress with their football.
- Limited playing times – with the variety of other distractions for the young people these days, there is a limited time period for proper football training to take place. Regular and consistent training sessions are vital for helping young footballers develop their skills.
- Lack of playing field/pitch – as more and more open spaces are being used to build housing, getting access to playing fields and football pitches, is becoming an increasing problem.
- Lack of funds – any football Coach need to have the right equipment to use with his or her team. However, if there’s no funding available, it’s not possible to buy the equipment that’s needed to prepare training sessions.
- Nonchalant attitude – many local government officials have an attitude of ‘I don’t care’, when it comes to exploring the benefits of investing in youth football coaching programmes. Sadly, they fail to see how football can be used to help eradicate some of the social problems in Nigeria.
Getting into Youth Football Coaching
If you’re considering a career in youth football coaching, here are some tips to help you along the way.
So who can be a youth football coach? Well, anyone can be a youth football coach (with at least a minimum knowledge of football), from parents or volunteers who can offer to help, through to the trained qualified football coach.
I remember when I started youth football coaching with young children in the UK, I was just a parent with a keen desire to help. This was because my son wanted to play football, and having played football myself, I decided to volunteer my services and worked alongside qualified coaches to pass on my knowledge. I enjoyed the sessions so much that I decided to further my football coaching knowledge by taking some professional training to become a qualified football coach.
If you’re serious about getting involved in youth football coaching, you’ll need to acquire the right skills and possess certain qualities such as honesty and commitment and have a strong determination to teach, facilitate, encourage, protect and support the players in your care.
As the Coach, you should be a role model to the players and lead by example in the way you behave towards members of opposing teams, parents and/or the football officials. You must be realistic about what is expected from the players and be enthusiastic too.
Youth football coaching brings lots of benefits to the young people who take part and as the Coach, it’s your job to remember that ‘winning at all cost’ is not what youth football coaching is all about. Of course, it’s nice to WIN but there are many other skills that young footballers will learn as a result of taking part in youth football coaching, that will make them better people who are able to adapt to the unpredictable world ahead.
So what do you think? Do you agree with this overview of youth football coaching or am I way off target? Your comments are welcome below.