Football is the most popular game in the world game, and in Guernsey it remains the most popular participant and spectator sport. For the vast majority of people who play the game, it is a fun, leisure activity for all ages, and when it comes to children and young people, everybody can play a role in ensuring the game is enjoyable by creating the right environment, allowing them to play with freedom, letting them make mistakes and by encouraging them to make their own decisions.
The better the environment that is created for the players, the more they will enjoy the game. Within youth football, there are many ways to create a positive environment and ensure that all children enjoy participating and one of the simplest and most important ways to support player enjoyment is by ensuring every player participates in at least 50% of a match. Guernsey FA Football Development Officer, Angus Mackay commented:
“One of the biggest issues in football is player dropout in youth age groups and research has shown that one of the primary reasons for players to dropout of the sport is a lack of playing time. The GFA will always advocate for clubs and coaches to ensure that every player is given at least 50% of the match minutes on the pitch and for a club philosophy that supports the development of every player rather than a small select group. We know that children and young people develop and improve their skills at different times and it is for this reason that all players should be given equal participation opportunities.”
As well as ensuring players receive 50% playing time, there are various other ways to support a positive football environment including:
- Issuing a Code of Conduct to everyone involved at the start of the season.
- Whatever your role – coach, parent, player, referee – turn up in good time.
- Coaches to stay in the technical area, unless a player is injured. Spectators behind the barrier on the opposite side of the field.
- Applause for good play for BOTH teams.
- Only the coach to issue instructions to the players.
- Respect Handshake before the game.
- Handshakes all round after the game – regardless of the score.
The GFA would also recommend that the clubs ensure the opposition and referee are welcomed and greeted before a match, supply refreshments and consider appointing a Match Day Manager, which are all ways in which any club at any level can start to make a difference and support a positive environment.
In addition, the GFA supports and promotes the FA’s RESPECT campaign, because if there is no Respect for the opposition players and coaches, and especially for the referee, then we do not have a game of football. Everybody can show RESPECT by:
- Supporting and encouraging players.
- Treating the opposition how you would like to be treated.
- Letting the coaches coach.
- Remembering that the referee may be learning the game.
- Remembering that you are a role model to children at all times during the game.
- Applauding both teams.
- Making the game fun at all times.
For more information about creating positive football environments please download the FA Youth Football Guide