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Why heroes can inspire your players

davidscwnewIsn’t it great when you hear players shouting the names of their heroes in the professional game? Twice this week I heard a pro’s name shouted by one of my players when they were bearing down on goal, as I’ll go on to explain…

To put it into context, my Under-11s were playing a really important end-of-season match last week. I was nervous for them, as were the cluster of parents gathered on the touchline, but how refreshing to see the kids just playing the game with so much relaxed spirit. It was a tight first period with relatively few chances, and with the scores level in the second half, a series of passes led the ball to my midfielder Marcus through on goal at an angle.

Before he shot, he shouted “AGUERO!” and tried to emulate the player he had seen in his living room score that fantastic title-winning goal for Manchester City . Needless to say the shot went high and wide – oh well! Even so, that didn’t stop his team mates appreciating at least the fact he had put himself in the right place as we drove forward looking for a goal.

“I heard you shout that!” one of his team mates said with a smile on his face. “That was brilliant!”

Another came over laughing and told him he too had thought of Aguero as the move developed. I find it heartening when I see my players inspired by great and memorable events on the pitch that they want to emulate.

Kids learn by watching and there is no better league for them to learn from than the English Premier League. Their appreciation for the game is a far cry from some people’s perception that kids are sometimes only taken in by some of the more unsavoury aspects of the modern game. I disagree with that notion. At the end of the day they take the positives, and this season has been full of them – great players, great skills, great goals, but also great stories.

And not always on the pitch – look at the reaction to Fabrice Muamba recovering from his heart attack and the draw of affection from the football family, for instance. I have started to realise there’s a lot in football to inspire those of us in the grass roots game. And if ever, as coaches, we’re unsure which of those influences are having an effect, just watch the kids!

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Make your players feel like part of the family

It was interesting to see this week in the English Premier League that Brazilian Manchester City player Jo, on loan at Everton scored another two goals in Everton’s 4-0 thrashing of Wigan.

A cash-rich City payed £19m for him last July but he never played well until he came under the wing of David Moyes at Everton.

Turning up at the club after getting the cold shoulder from City was a great experience for Jo. Phil Neville took him under his wing and everyone made him feel welcome. Moyes has spoken about how Jo just needed some affection and that paid off handsomely with two goals on his debut.

Jo said: “I can see that people believe in me here and because of that I have started to believe in myself again.”

That from a professional imagine how a young player feels when he thinks no one in the team thinks him good enough to play. The whole feeling in your club should be of one big family.

If it works for a Brazilian international like Jo then it’s sure going to have some effect on children that turn up to your training sessions.

Watch him win a penalty for Everton… and was it a penalty? Tell me what you think by commenting below.

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