Silent Weekend prompts proposals for grassroots football

Lancashire FA has followed up last month's Silent Weekend with a number of recommendations for the future of youth football in the county.

The recommendations, which have been put to clubs and leagues for consultation, call on coaches to refrain from shouting negatively at players, with parents asked to refrain from coaching or instructing players, instead focussing on just positive encouragement for players of both sides.

The proposals include the implementation of designated coaching areas, with matches played over four quarters to allow coaches more time to communicate messages to players rather than shout out instructions during game time.

Youth football's first ever Silent Weekend took place on 8-9 March, with over 2,000 teams playing football to the unusual sound of adults being quiet on the touchline. Coaches and parents were asked to refrain from shouting in a bid to create a more positive experience for children playing the game and to give everyone an opportunity to reflect on their usual behaviour at youth football matches.

After collating over 1,300 survey responses from participating coaches, players, parents and referees, Lancashire FA has published a 40-page report summarising their findings of the surveys.

The detailed report also explores the rationale and theory behind the Silent Weekend and lists 16 recommendations for the grassroots football community to consider for future implementation, covering all aspects of the game from referees to a proposed new Lancashire FA Youth Council.

"Lancashire FA is pleased to publish its consultation document following the Silent Weekend initiative embraced by grassroots youth clubs and leagues in March," a statement said.

"It must be stressed that the recommendations made are for consultation. Whether or not any, or all, of these plans come to fruition will be very much dependent on the feelings of our stakeholders, their clubs, our leagues, and other interested parties.

"All that we ask is that the report is considered with an open mind, and the knowledge that all the recommendations arise from a deep-seated desire to make the youth football environment consistently safe, enjoyable, and developmental."

"We do of course welcome any constructive feedback from our stakeholders."

Click here to download the Lancashire FA Silent Weekend Report 2014 (4MB Word document).

Feedback on the consultation document can be emailed to silent.weekend@lancashirefa.com.

Image courtesy of @Lostock_HallJFC.

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