You’re keen to get your kids interested in sport. And it’d do you good to get a bit more active too. So your idea to set up a youth football team is a good one.
Before dreaming of trophy-winning glory, there are a few things to consider first.
Chat to other parents and their children to discern how much interest there is for a new football club. The size of your hometown will determine whether there is a demand. A club is a great way for children to socialise and learn new skills. If your town or village is lacking in after-school activities, your idea is sure to get the thumbs up!
Build Your Team
Once you’ve garnered local support, it’s time to form the team. Decide what age you want to coach. Avoid too broad an age range as young ones will be out-manoeuvred by older kids. Choose an age group you feel comfortable working with. Older children will have more endurance than tiny tots. How much time do you have to give to this voluntary activity? How seriously do you want the team to play and win? Are you bidding for town glory? Or providing a short kick-about for little ones? Is your club for boys, girls or both?
Pick a well-rounded team of players. Choose more than you need for a standard football team. Allow for lots of substitutes so you always have a pool of players to make up a squad.
Secure a Venue
To keep children coming to your club on a regular basis, you need to secure a regular venue. Find a suitable all-weather pitch in the local area. Don’t expect parents to drive miles to attend. Consider whether you need to charge parents a nominal fee to cover the cost of a pitch or sports hall. Negotiate a favourable rate and commit to the booking on a weekly basis. Choose a regular timeslot and day that suits the majority of parents. Decide if you want to play during the school holidays or term-time only.
Develop a Coaching Programme
You are the leader. The children will be looking for you for guidance and motivation. Keep sessions structured to ensure kids don’t simply stand around or mess about. You want to get something out of this venture. And they do too. Invest time and energy devising a workable coaching strategy. Design a set of warm-up exercises to prevent injuries. Plan the game and ensure it is always under control.
Motivate and Reward
Children like to feel that their efforts on the football pitch are noticed and appreciated. Motivate your young squad with positive team talks. Give praise to those who do well and improve. Also, acknowledge ‘triers’ who may not be as skilled but work hard nonetheless. Consider introducing a weekly medal for a winner who played especially well. Don’t just reward goal scorers. It takes the work of an entire team to produce results. Use glass football trophies from Premier Trophies, and medals from similar retailers to reward end of term triumphs.
Encourage parents to attend matches and shout encouragement from the sidelines.
Become a respected pillar of your community by giving your time freely to help children learn a new skill. Set a good example to your children while enjoying a kick-about every weekend.