Connecting Senior Players Attitude Problems to Culture Within Schoolboy Football
This week I helped a friend out with a training session for his U15 schoolboy side. This coming in a week I had witnessed disgusting disloyalty and individualism within a senior grassroots team relating to a incident which led to the removal of a player within the senior club in question. It was after the U15 session that I sat down to think and connected the senior grassroots problem of disloyalty and indivualism to how we deal with footballers at schoolboy level, particularly after a comment passed my way from my friend after the schoolboy session in question. The comment from my friend was related to a kid who had recently broken into the U15 side recently. My friend approached me after training and asked my opinion related to the kids situation, he said “look David has been doing great since he got into the side and now I have Ryan the player he replaced just back from injury. I think I’m going to stick with David this week based on his performances”. The conversation was a lot more in depth than that but it was the last part that rang a bell in my head when my friend stated “I’m going to stick with David this week based on his performances”. Does anyone out there manage or coach a senior team full of players who are purely focused on themselves and completely lack any sort of loyalty or affiliation to the team they play for? What would you say if I suggested a big reason for many problems with senior football is because of the way footballers are coached from young ages to compete with team mates? (Continued below)
Breathing Competition Within Team Environment
It’s a fact that there are coaches out there who preach to kids that playing well or training well will result in them standing a great chance to start football matches. What that approach does to kids is creates an environment in which they see their own team mates as competition and even if most wouldn’t want to admit it, some kids will secretly hope their very own team mates under perform if it means their own situation improves, that’s an example of what creating that sort of environment does. As the kids grow older that individual mentality sticks with them and the result is the absolute self centred focus that can be witnessed throughout a vast majority of senior grassroots football clubs today. Is a performance based selection process really the right culture or environment to create for kids? Have we even considered what it’s doing in terms of creating individuals and not team players? (Continued Below).
How Do We Develop Team Players
There is surely no one sure way to answer the question of ‘how we develop team players’. One thing is certain though, cultures who are successful are those with a team ethic within them. Instead of breathing a performance selection based environment perhaps selection should be based on the things which benefit the team the most. Who are the players trying the hardest, who are the players encouraging the most, who are the players working hard to help a team mate out of trouble, who are the players most dedicated, who are the players who’s decision making is all about the team firstly and not about his own gain?. Somewhere in those questions lays the potential to create an environment in which we start developing team players and not those who’s own name comes before any other including the club he represents.