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 [email protected].

Image courtesy of @Lostock_HallJFC.

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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. Andy Walker on May 20, 2014 at 4:59 am

    This depends on whether the parents know about football or not. Also boys need to learn that sometimes coaching instructions need to be given quickly and this may warrant instruction being given in an abrupt manner. You can’t say, “Excuse me, James, young boy, could I please kindly ask that you mark the opposition No. 5 who is currently free at the far post otherwise he is quite likely to score from this corner.” Oh dear, he already scored before I finished giving you the message. Much better to shout, “James mark 5 at far post!” Well defended great header.

  2. George Ware on May 20, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Andy – I think you might have missed the point a little. I don’t think giving a piece of advice re marking at a corner is being outlawed here. It’s just prompting coaches to address how much in-game coaching they actually do and how they deliver this.

    But here’s another alternative… rather than give instructions in an Old Etonian voice, you could just leave James and his team mates to organise themselves and pick up the number 5 at the back post on their own?

    Dare say if they missed him the first time around, they’d be more likely to pick up the number 5 (or 4 or 6) next time. They are certainly more likely to learn it for themselves if they aren’t relying on instructions from the touchline to alert them every time a man is free.

    Of course, they might concede a few goals along the way, so I guess it depends on who this bothers most and whose interests we’re trying to serve here – the coach’s or the kids’.

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