It's interesting how youth football development has come to the fore recently with the new FA's commission on the future of English football. Having been involved in youth football for a number of years I really do think the English FA have been moving in the right direction for some time now, and a real positive is the Youth Development Age appropriate modules they have introduced. The first module is called 'Developing the Environment'. As the title suggests the objective is to ensure that coaches provide a Football coaching environment that allows children to have fun, are able to express themselves without fear of failure and at the same time give all players the opportunity to be the best they can be. It splits practice in to 4 corners, Technical, Physiological, Social and Psychological. Next time you watch a coaching session I recommend you think about which corner is being covered, sometimes it might be just one, but it could also cover all four.
A few of us recently received an email from the parent of a U8 player we have been coaching since he was 4 years old. His parents were in the UK with work and they have now moved to pastures new in Holland. The boy has joined a well established large Dutch football club and by all accounts he is their star player at his age group already. Below is a quote from the email
"I would like to thank you all for the good training he has received. He seems to be doing really well in his new team, being by far the most technical, quickest, strongest player in the team. I would say the competition in Clifton United was tougher than it is here.."
This is great evidence of the Environment all those associated with Clifton United help create. As with every player he was welcomed with open arms by our club. We helped his technical development, gave him the opportunity to be the best he could be and, I hope and expect, we have given him some memories to cherish for ever. And this is thanks to everyone - players and parents, not just us coaches
The fact he is now playing in Holland - renowned for their technical ability - where he is technically more advanced is certainly something we coaches are very proud of. But it is the Club's belief in creating the best Environment possible that we attribute to his and every player's success.