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Grassroots Football

Discussion in 'General Sport' started by Sme, Sep 1, 2021.

  1. Sme

    Sme Registered User

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    Morning all, just wondered if there is anyone on here involved in grassroots football.

    Whether that be playing, coaching or even if you have anyone you know involved. Just seeing if there is any appetite for a thread in which all the latest information/guidance could be shared on.
     
  2. Si Robin

    Si Robin Cheltenham Spa - Ra ra ra

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    I coach my son's u11 team. Took over last summer when the previous coach was moving on.

    It's something I've always wanted to do, and the opportunity came up so I took the chance. My wife hates it because everything I do now tends to revolve around football, but my son loves that I'm the coach.

    As a team, we're very much an all inclusive side, so wins are few and far between, but when they do come it's like we've won the World Cup.

    Our season starts on Saturday in the Ambassador Evesham League and we play our local rivals (another team from the same club) and the amount of pressure some of the parents are putting on the boys is astounding. Including one threatening to not take one to the England game at Wembley on Sunday if they don't win (this is a lie of course, but the boy doesn't know that and was deeply concerned at training last night).
     
  3. Sme

    Sme Registered User

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    Yeah I basically done the same. My boy started playing about 3 years ago and I loved it. Pretty soon I was offered the chance to take over their under 11s at the time (going in to under 13s now) and subsequently done my courses and vetting.

    My missus has kinda brought into the fact of being a football mum now (notice the kinda bit!). I was very conscious of the fact I would be coaching some of my boys sessions/games on occasion and actually spoke to him before hand to make sure he was okay with it and he loves it as well.

    I am fairly lucky where I have had the same group of players (give or take a couple) for 2 years now. Last year we lost 1 game but the league was cancelled midway through so this year is massive for us as we go over to 11 a side football.

    The first season I found myself trying getting to know the players and there strengths/weaknesses. Now I find myself working on specific tactics in training to catch teams out (you can get the advantage over teams from every situation if your players are switched on). For instance, we scored 3 goals directly from kick off last season as we have a midfield who has a long kick.

    I know what you mean about parents putting pressure on the kids. For me it wasn't so much parents as our head coach. I went back to basics and made sure everyone was having fun before anything else. Now we are in a good place where everyone wants to play (which means everyone turns up) and the support we get at matches from parents is incredible. We played a friendly just as we came out of lockdown a few months ago against a London district team and had 90-100 spectators...yes it was a very sunny day and people made the most of it but even the match report mentioned our support.

    Have you had much involvement with the new FA Club portal with regards to registering players?
     
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  4. Richard

    Richard Registered User

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    Keen to get involved once one of my boys takes a proper interest.
    My eldest is 5 and i cant convince him to play yet.
     
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  5. Si Robin

    Si Robin Cheltenham Spa - Ra ra ra

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    Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with that as our club secretary sorts it all.

    In one sense, I'm lucky that I'm part of a big club (age groups from U6-U18, girls teams from U10-U16 - at least two teams per age group) but on the other hand it can be a nightmare.

    My age group for example had 3 teams last season. We had the Colts (the club is Tewkesbury Town Colts), Pumas (my team) and Panthers. Naturally, the Colts was the "A" team, but not explicitly so. However, at U10 we played 7 a side and could only register 14 players. At the season's end I had 15 players and the Panthers had 16 but the Colts had 12. It was pointed out to the coach of the Colts that as we were moving to 9-a-side this year and could only have a maximum matchday squad of 14 (18 can register) it would make sense that any new players be taken by him. He threw his toys out of the pram, stating he didn't want any novices (they're 10 years old for crying out loud) and wanted to vet any players coming in and pass them to me or the Panthers if he didn't think they were good enough.

    It was pointed out to him that as an FA Chartered Club we have an obligation to accept all players regardless of ability and as scores are not recorded until U12 in our region that it's not like he is going to be winning any leagues at U11. Rather than taking it on the chin, he has decided to quit and taken his son to another club. He's also told the other players' parents to leave because we don't play to win. Eventually, the team was left with 6 players who had to be split among our teams (all but one decided to leave) as a decent squad couldn't be made up of players from our teams, none of whom wanted to leave anyway.

    However, what this has meant is that we are now down to two team that are nearly full (I had 16 at training last night and 1 was absent) and we're still taking players on. It's too late to create a 3rd team because League registration is over and any new team would also need a coach.

    That turned into much more of a rant than I envisioned.
     
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  6. The Doc

    The Doc Registered User

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    I coach U9s (my lads team), had them since they were 6.

    Enjoy the matches and training but not the admin, collecting subs, sorting out kit each season, sorting out refs, etc. :laugh:

    The new portal seems a faff but that could just be me....:(
     
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  7. Sme

    Sme Registered User

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    It will come naturally if he is interested. It took my boy until he was 10 because he wasn't interested until he was old enough to get into the school football team.

    We are not as big (only have 1 x team for under 7s - 15's so 9 teams in total) and our admin team are taking care of the new system however i suspect I will get involved at some stage as I can also use the portal to log on to look at all the players registered and what we are waiting for (i.e Proof of age).

    I have seen coaches like the one you are talking about. They think they are managing in the premiership and say it's all about results. At such young ages, player development is so much more important than results. We quite often play kids a year up to test them as although we could let them play at their own age and dominate a game, it makes more sense to challenge them against players who will push them.

    If you manage to get enough create a developmental team as a third team (even using players a year below) and try to get them as many friendlies as possible. That way next year you won't have to worry about recruitment for the third team.

    I guess I am lucky as I don't really need to get involved in things like that. I think it will be short term pain long term gain with the portal. Our old league used to use player cards, so before a game each manager would check the oppositions cards (which include photographs). With this system I think it will be easier for teams to bring ringers. We played a team in a friendly a couple of months ago in an under 14s game. There striker was excellent and the main reason we lost 2-1. I later bumped into him in town and in conversation asked how he was.....18! I guess the other teams manager was a results type of guy too!
     
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  8. Si Robin

    Si Robin Cheltenham Spa - Ra ra ra

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    We're in early discussions about that. It's just infuriating that a month ago we couldn't get enough players for the 3rd team and now they're all coming out of the cracks!!
     
  9. Sme

    Sme Registered User

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    Yep it is frustrating. It's swings and roundabouts with regards to player recruitment to be fair.

    Be good to keep up to date with everyone's results as the season gets going.

    Also, if you have any decent training tips/drills or anything in general that could help others then let's put them in this thread to share.
     
  10. Si Robin

    Si Robin Cheltenham Spa - Ra ra ra

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    I recommend following Grassroots Football on Facebook - it's full of great tips and drills.

    As we're moving to offsides and whatnot, we're concentrating on defensive and attacking shape at the moment. The boys seemed to be getting it. Our biggest issue is the boys taking so long to move the ball. They act like they have all day, especially when taking a shot.
     
  11. Sme

    Sme Registered User

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    Great resource....I follow them as well.

    So defensively get your goal keeper to make sure he is on the defenders case to push out when the ball is cleared. With regards to offsides from attacking, it's all about keeping them alert and the timing of their runs but some people take to it easier than others so hopefully if they seem to be getting it that's the case.

    Our under 14s actually have the same issue. It's like they want to walk the ball into the net sometimes. Even our best finishers seem to want to take too many touches when a shot is on. We play quite a bit of 3 touch football when doing training matches and this has helped them release the ball a bit quicker. If a player takes more than 3 touches it's a free kick to the other team.
     
  12. Si Robin

    Si Robin Cheltenham Spa - Ra ra ra

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    Our goalkeeper is currently my biggest concern.

    His enthusiasm is fantastic, but he's not the most agile and can have days where he doesn't even appear to be trying. We played a friendly a couple of weeks ago and lost 8-6. The opposition had about 9 shots on goal and 6 of the goals he really should have stopped. Not done better with, actually saved with ease. Two rolled past his foot, which was planted in the ground.

    I've worked and worked and worked with him on maintaining his ready position, and using his feet if it's easier than diving, and there are times when he gets it, but more often than not it just doesn't seem to sink in. I've tried to make sure he's on his toes, but as soon as the game starts he's so flat footed.

    What doesn't help is my joint coach is his dad and he's immediately jumping to his defence. Of the 8 goals previously mentioned, he's straight away saying "oh he had no chance with that". Yes he did, literally anybody else would have saved it.

    It's also difficult because, as I'm sure you've found out, finding a player that is happy to go in goal is bloody difficult. We've tried a couple of others, but after half a game they're just not interested, so we're forced to persevere and hope at some point it just clicks.
     
  13. Sme

    Sme Registered User

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    Last year I lost my goalkeeper half way through the season as he decided he wanted to play tennis instead (WTF!). I had to play the goal keeper from the year below in goal (although their normal goalkeeper was injured so it was the second choice). We literally had the same issue to the point I had to tell the defence and midfield to close down the opposition fast so they didn't have the option to shoot. Of course this is not possible so we conceded more than we wanted.

    After a couple of games I spoke to the team and said I wanted to stop asking the younger team to step up and we needed to cover the goalkeeper position ourselves. I said that I would not let anyone moan at the people playing in goal and each person would be given something specific to work on (i.e leadership, kicking distance, communication). The boy that went in goal for the 3rd game, then decided he would take the opportunity to train as backup goalkeeper which was fantastic for us. Glad to say I have got a new keeper signed up for this season!

    With regards to the boys dad, he isn't doing his son any favours by making excuses.

    The good thing for you is if your just going into Under 11s then you will notice a massive progression from most of your players this year mainly due to them physically growing.
     
  14. Si Robin

    Si Robin Cheltenham Spa - Ra ra ra

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    We had a backup goalkeeper last year, who would have been our number 1. He was fantastic in the two games he played and one Saturday we had no game so arranged a training session. I spent a good couple of hours working on a specific goalkeeping training session for the two keepers, only for the boy's dad to turn up and flat out refuse to let him play in goal.

    He then didn't play there the rest of the season despite constantly wanting to go in and do well in training.

    Over this past summer I spoke to his mum who said he did want to play in goal but his dad is insistent that he doesn't. As it happens, he's actually one of our best outfield players anyway, so I've bitten the bullet and accepted it.

    I've come to the conclusion that parents are the biggest issue with grassroots football. From those who try and coach on the sidelines, to those who constantly try to undermine what you're doing. Then there's the mouthy ones who constantly complain, but are nowhere to be seen when you request a volunteer for literally anything.
     
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  15. Sme

    Sme Registered User

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    Yep we have plenty of parents the same mate. We played one a year up and the mum said if he plays a year up he needs to play in a certain position (left back i think it was). Well unfortunately he was only playing a year above to help with another position so he now plays at his own age. I don't need parents telling me how to coach the team, we have other teams looking for coaches if they want to get involved.

    Like you said, nowhere to be seen when i need someone to run the line! I even ref'd our under 15s friendly today as the ref didn't show up. Had one of my under 13s there so he ran the line on one side. Perhaps 10 parents there and none wanted to do it.

    The under 15s first pre season friendly and they lost 2-0. To be fair the coach experimented quite a bit and our fitness was not good at all. Plenty to work on! Onto next week when hopefully my under 13s play their first 11 a side game.
     
  16. Si Robin

    Si Robin Cheltenham Spa - Ra ra ra

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    Absolute disaster this morning.

    I had the keeper in tears before the game because I was trying to get him diving in the warmup. He started to complain that the ground was hurting his knees. He was the only one there with joggers on and the ground was not that hard. 8-0 down at half-time and the keeper has conceded a couple of shockers.

    In our league, if the score reaches a gap of 8 goals, that's the recorded score, so at half-time I told the boys the 2nd half is a friendly and a new game. We won it 4-3, changing the keeper in the last 15 mins, who was immediately better.

    A complaint has been made by the parents of our opposition (another team from the same club) about the attitude and language used by our parents when talking to myself and my other coach. I heard nothing, but had to chat with one of our committee members about it for about 30 mins this evening.

    All in all - a bit of a disaster.
     
  17. Sme

    Sme Registered User

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    To go from losing 8-0 in the first half to winning 4-3 in the second sounds like a massive improvement and something that should give you plenty of encouragement.

    So the other teams parents complained about the way your parents were supposedly talking to you? Sounds like sour grapes to me! We have had other teams parents/managers complaining about our "enthusiastic" parents support (doing hand stands and somersaults when we score :laugh:) but I love our parents and the support they give us.

    Back to training 3 times a week now that the summer holidays are over with so I am expecting massive improvements in the players. Do you do session plans for your training?
     
  18. Si Robin

    Si Robin Cheltenham Spa - Ra ra ra

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    The other team were from the same club as ourselves.

    Certainly wasn't sour grapes, they'd won 8-0 and technically 11-4 overall. Yesterday afternoon I had to have a meeting with our vice-chairman and a decisions been taken to make our parents chat into an info only resource because it was noted that the same two or three parents who would complain about everything would gang up on myself and the other coach with issues we couldn't resolve immediately and we believe this fuelled it.

    When this was announced yesterday afternoon, I received three private messages. One from a parent saying nothing was said, but being immediately defensive with comments like "where's the evidence?", another from a parent saying that they didn't hear anything but they were running the line so for half the game was on the other side of the pitch, and finally one from a parent who said that his wife was so disgusted with what was said that she had to go and sit in the car to get away from it. I know which two of the three I believe.

    To be honest, I don't care. If they want to slag me off that's on them, though I did use the phrase on Saturday evening - "If what I'm doing isn't good enough, then an FA Level 1 course is £185 and the club always needs more coaches".
     
  19. JoshBCFC

    JoshBCFC Registered User

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    Jesus Christ, sounds like you've got a bunch of proper whoppers on your hands there!
     
  20. Si Robin

    Si Robin Cheltenham Spa - Ra ra ra

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    To be honest, I genuinely didn't hear anything, but knowing them I can imagine what was said. There's a hope, from my other coach, that us cracking down on this may lead to them going. That's not to say we want to lose their boys, two of the three boys from the two lairiest parents, are arguably our best players. But when 2/3s of the parents are questioning if they want to keep their boys in the team then this has to be nipped in the bud.

    I'm not bothered on a personal level. I love coaching my boys, and when things go right (as they did in the second half) then it's so rewarding. However, the other coach struggles with criticism, especially of his own boy as well.
     

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