If only I had asked first…

Fancy coaching your child’s football team next season? Take a minute to read this parent’s letter first

Boys in the wall

So my boy finally reached the magical age of 7 last spring and all the football training, school clubs could now pay off and I could get him on a team.

It turned out the local FA-affiliated club were looking for coaches to run an under-7s team. I jumped at the chance! I knew my footy, I thought, and I couldn’t wait to coach my son.

He loved his football, FIFA on the X-Box, football stickers, Match of the Day etc. What could go wrong?

Well, a few weeks into the season I could see a lack of effort from my boy. My coaching was always fair with equal playing time, no shouting etc, so I was perplexed what the problem might be.

Eventually I had to start dressing him in his kit to get him ready for games and he played more and more like he didn’t like the game. What was wrong?

After a really lazy, effortless display I couldn’t bite my tongue any longer and asked him what the problem was.

Slowly, through tears, he explained that he didn’t actually like playing competitively. He enjoyed having a kick around with mates and loved playing FIFA but wasn’t keen on playing games. Unbelievably, I had never stopped to ask him whether he wanted to play in a team.

My team will now be looking for a new coach, unfortunately, as I can’t see myself staying on without my son in the team, but I wish I had asked him what he wanted before putting my own needs first.

GRF logoSo parents, there will be lots of teams looking for coaches over the summer, so please before signing your child up to live out your dreams make sure they actually like playing football.

This letter was originally published by Grassroots Football – grf-football.co.uk – and is reproduced with their permission.

This article appeared in The Clubhouse – the monthly newsletter from Club Website. To get the best grassroots news, offers and competitions straight to your inbox every month, sign up today!

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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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5 Comments

  1. John Mellowship on June 24, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    As a Grassroots Coach for over 20 years I can confirm this is not an uncommon situation. I have seen a lot of kids who like playing the game but do not want to play competitively, I have a squad of 27 x 16 year olds now, but even here there are some who just want to play but not join the team they like to come to training and learn different things but have no intention of joining the squad, We should all remember that “t is not about the Team, The Club, The Parents or The Coach but it is all about “the kids”. Many parents try to force their son or daughter to participate in competitive sports but at the end of the day it should be up to them to decide.

  2. Footy mum on June 24, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Why carnt you carry on as a coach?
    Very selfish in my eyes

  3. Andy Marriott on July 4, 2016 at 11:15 am

    An unfortunate and sad response from Footy Mum there. ‘Why cant you carry on coaching the team, very selfish in my eyes’.

    I would like some of the parents who moan and complain about coaches and managers to actually have some of the responsibilities that we have.
    I have just walked away from coaching my son’s team after 7 years, from age 9 to 16. My son has decided after all this time, to try out for a team where the majority of his school friends play. Our team has up until recently been made up of junior school mates, who have drifted away one by one, along with their enthusiastic, FA level 1 qualified dads, leaving me currently as manager, coach, appointed emergency first aider, club child welfare officer, finance officer, administration secretary, club chairman and club Chartered Status officer.

    I have asked the parents for volunteers to help out with the many jobs that are necessary to make sure their son is able to train and play organised football matches on a Sunday, but the most help I have had (and grateful to have that), is a dad or two willing to be a linesman on matchdays.

    As well as organising a training programme and liaising with teams and referees to ensure that the matches take place on Sundays, I have to have an FA Enhanced DBS check updated every three years, maintain my first aid certificate, my child welfare officer’s certificate on a regular basis, undertake Continuous Professional Development as well as scout, sign and register players including chasing photographs and forms for weeks, maintain the club’s bank account, paying out for pitch hire and referees as well as equipment purchase for training and matches. In addition I have to Annual General Meetings as well as other necessary gatherings that are all deemed as compulsory by our league otherwise the club is fined. On top of that I have to collate our Chartered Status report annually, which includes the preparation of club accounts, minutes from meetings, information about CPD activities, all to ensure the club maintains its compulsory Chartered Status.

    Between August and May each year I spend on average at least three days a week involved in all aspects of running the football team on behalf of the boys and their parents, including evenings and weekends, all voluntarily and all off my own back. Since taking the painful decision, I have asked for volunteers to get involved in taking the rest of the team forward, as the majority of what needs to be in place for next season I have already done. I’ve not had one positive response from any of the 15 sets of parents to get involved.

    I don’t want thanks or a medal, but to have parents who are not willing to get involved at any level other than driving their son to a training session or a match and then complaining when coaches or managers no longer wish to continue because their own son wont be involved in the club is a little bit rich.

  4. Nick on July 4, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    “Footy Mum” his decision is not selfish. I’m sure he won’t just stop without finding a suitable replacement. Being a coach is pretty much a full-time job, there is way more to do than just babysit your precious little Johnny while you and your fellow mums pop off shopping or for a prosecco or two. I got into it for the same reason because my son played and nobody else wanted to, however my son and many of his friends progressed from mini soccer to adult football. The older they got the more we were used as a glorified babysitting service. So please don’t judge anyone for deciding to find someone else and to spend his precious time with his own family.

  5. keith keith on July 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    footy mum have you coached i coached a girls team i have never had kids but i loved coaching so when asked i did it , i only ever saw 3 or 4 parents at games the rest dropped them off and were gone as fast as they could .Coaches do not get paid they do it for the love of the game

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