Millions of people have spent many years watching football and have a vast knowledge of the ins and outs of football, but does this mean they are now qualified to coach youngsters who are wanting to learn the game?
For me the answer is absolutely not!
What i know about football does not reflect the type of coach i am, what i know about how children learn and develop says everything about the type of coach that i am.
Because i know that getting a ball out to wide players to cross into the box could give us a chance of scoring a goal does that mean that if i shout that out to my U9's players during a match that i have then taught them something? If during a match a player has the ball and i can see another player in a better position and i shout 'Pass' then the player passes and the other player scores does that mean i've just used my football knowledge to gain success? Did the child get a goal or did i practically get the goal myself as it was my ideas?
Ok, lets put it this way, next time this young player has the ball and there is another player in a better position are you going to be there to shout 'pass' again? Are you going to be there next year to shout 'pass' for him too? What about when he is an adult, will you still be there on the side to help him find his pass? I'm guessing the answer is 'no', so lets go back to while he's still a young player and ask ourselves 'as a coach are we trying to apply what we know into a youth football match' or are we trying to develop 'players who can think for themselves on the pitch'? If you can see what you deem to be a good opportunity for a child to make a pass during a game then why can't the child see it? Maybe it's because the child is not comfortable enough on the ball yet to lift his head and make those sort of decisions. So do we keep telling them what decisions to make or do we go and 'coach' them to become comfortable on the ball, which in turn will lead to being able to dribble with their head up, which will then help them to look around and read the game seeking out passes that may be beneficial and bring their own success.
Children learn from experience,from fun, from mistakes, from problem solving, can you as a coach provide an environment that offers all these forms of learning? Remember you are developing a long term football intelligence in that child, not a short term youth league winning youngster.
Dictating a youth football match to win the game does not mean the children won, it means you won,that was your football knowledge and your problem solving that won the game, not theirs.
|'Develop a football intelligence'|