Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Bad behaviour? Blame the grassroots coaches

Whichever way I turned this week someone was having a go at grassroots coaches. First when Ashley Cole refused to looknew-image-dave-clarke.jpg at the referee who was booking him for a bad foul, somehow the discussions managed to blame the behaviour of players in grassroots soccer and the coaches that patrol it.

Then watching the TV programme Soccer AM on Saturday morning, Trevor Brooking took the cameras on a tour of the Football Association HQ, where we saw the England manager Fabio Capello in his office and various secretaries who looked after this and that. Then Trevor burst into a meeting where the Chief Executive of the FA Brian Barwick was talking to his team. “We are discussing the behavioural problems of the coaches in grassroots soccer,” said Brian.

Trevor furrowed his brow as if to say Yes that is a problem.

Then in the Liverpool – Manchester United game Javier Mascherano was sent off causing another full scale debate over behaviour by players towards referees. And yet again grassroots soccer was at the heart of the debate

I expected to see the offices of Better Soccer Coaching surrounded by people calling for our heads this morning.

So I put “dangerous cult” into Google  and what pops up? No not grassroots coaches but the Church of Scientology. I’m beginning to wonder what these commentators on Sky and BBC really do think grassroots soccer is about. Have they ever been to a game at a weekend with young enthusiastic players and enthusiastic coaches and parents who sometimes get overexcited by what they see their kids doing?

The only time I have had a problem with my players is when they have been watching hightlights of the English Premier League before they come and play a match. Then they copy the swearing and challenging of the referee because that is what the players at the top do, the players that drive the Aston Martins and spend their lives on soccer pitches and get paid the astronomical sums we hear about.

Here at Better Soccer Coaching we are well aware of all the initiatives that are going on to try and stop abuse at youth soccer games and I think they are beginning to have a  positive effect. The only negativity now comes from the people who run soccer.

Abuse of referees and linesmen has been cut down, but that is what I see each week. Maybe you see something different. Let us know by commenting below.

David Clarke, editor, Better Soccer Coaching

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