The Kids Coach: What if my child wants to quit?

Football provides lots of fun for millions of kids across the UK, but what if the fun stops and your child wants to quit the game? Kids Coach Naomi Richards takes a look.

We all know that children have off days when it comes to playing sport.

In the past I have written about team members who are not always consistent in their game. I have also written about keeping a child’s belief going that they are a good player even when at times they don’t see that they are.

What do we do then, after we have tried to build up our child’s self-belief and confidence, make them realise they are a valuable and well respected team member and we know that they play well, but they still want to quit?

Their heart was probably in it when they started playing football. They may have chosen to play because their friends were – some may now have dropped out or, as your child is getting older, they realise that the commitment to playing football is greater than they expected.

Whatever reason they give for wanting to quit, do we support their decision and accept it just like that? How can we be sure that they are making the right decision and they will have no regrets later?

Well, I think there are a series of questions we can ask them so that they are 100% sure it is the right decision for them – they may have been having a wobble when they said they want to quit. The types of question to ask before they make that final decision are:

* What is it about football they no longer like?
* They may say players, the coach or training, so ask them what it is about ‘x’ that they don’t like.
* If they did not play with those team mates or the coach, would that make a difference?
* Would they prefer to play for another team?
* What would have to happen for them to continue football? They may say nothing.
* How would they feel if they were not playing football?
* If they did not play football what would they do instead?
* If your child says that they find the football training hard, ask them if there is an alternative to hard work?
* Really get them to think about their dreams and their passions. If they are not bothered about playing football any more, will they have any regrets later on?
* Would they really be happier not having the commitment?

These questions can be asked to your child whatever age they are, so long as you use the right tone of voice, make the questions easy to understand and age-approriate.

By using these questions, together you can come to a conclusion.

The most important thing to remember here is that playing football should be fun. If it is no longer fun for them, then we should do all we can to help football become fun again.

Many children drop out of football altogether, and if that is what our children really want, then we need to support them.

But first we should do all we can to help them enjoy the game, and to make sure they really think about how they would feel if football wasn’t part of their lives at all.

Naomi Richards is The Kids Coach – a life coach for children. Her first book, The Parent’s Toolkit, shares key life tools for you to help your children successfully navigate their own childhood problems and grow up into happy, confident and resilient young adults.

The Parent’s Toolkit was described by The Sun as “clear and to the point… a must-read for parents”. It is published by Vermillion and is available to buy on

Other articles by The Kids Coach:

* Does your child respect their peers?
* Keeping the belief going
* Football crazy, football mad
* It’s the taking part that counts
* Giving young players confidence to try new things
* Parents: To shout or not to shout?
* Young footballers must see respect to show respect

Put your questions to The Kids Coach

If you are a parent or coach and would like Naomi’s advice on any issue that might affect a young footballer, then please leave a comment below and it could well be addressed in next month’s column.

Alternatively email [email protected] or tweet @thekidscoach.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. matt streatfield on December 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    My sion is 7 yrs in January. He played for West Ham United in the under 7 squad in the summer, and was invited to their development squad. My ex wife stopped this as I do not live with my Son at his family home. I am fighting for 50 – 50 contact at the moment ( for my daughter too). After this my Son was invited to a Chelsea match in which he would play against Chelsea as part of their scouting network, me ex wife turned up at the school and took him out early so I could not pick him up at 3pm to take him to the game (he missed it, twice). He then played v’s Crystal Palace when he was with me on a weekend, and was invited to train with their pre academy for a year or two ongoing with a viw to being signed at 9yrs. This has not happened yet as my ex wife is not allowing enough access or him to go to football. He loves football and has recently been interviewed by a social worker on other matters and the main thing they found was he loves his football more than anything, (I did not know about the interview or what was going on till after it had happened). I was his coach as I am UEFA B and FA Youth Award module 1 Qualified, I took him to football average 3 x a week (and my Daughter too) Also I am a Qualified Social Worker and know a bit about child development.

    Surly if a child wants to stop playing then a parent should listen to this and a child should not be forced to do something they wish not to do. But what if a child wants to go and also 1 parent wants them to go too. But the parent who does not want them to go to football holds the control and chooses otherwise. Recently a man (my ex wifes new partner who has only known my Son 4 months refused him to go to football. I am his father and took him to football from the age of 1 and a half. My ex wife went to college and university and it was me that brought the children up from babies to the age of 5 and 6 yrs. So how is it i am powerless over someone who has only known the children for 4 months. HELP PLEASE. Surly their must be research into this and the effects of denying a child a chance to play at pro academy level. The same has happened with his Tennis. He started playing tournaments v 6 – 8 yr olds when he was 5yrs ( and he won 50% of his matches). He was just going onto red 1 at just over 6 yrs (this is the stage he would normally be on at 8 yrs. His Tennis has totally stopped. Where do I go How can I get the courts or legally to get his sport in place for him. Many thanks for your time Matt

  2. Charlie simpson on February 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Why are you complaining? You say you bought your children up from babies whilst your wife was at Uni, So why were you not working????? Sounds as if you are trying to live your life through your son

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