Give kids a chance – they are football’s future!
Through a previous posting, which I re-posted into a LinkedIn group, I have recently been conversing with a father of a 13 year old Goalkeeper who is frustrated with Football Club Academy systems. That his son has been released twice due to ‘poor distribution’… I put this in inverted commas as this isn’t the fault of the child, neither should it really be the big issue.
Firstly, his son, as has been the case at a number of Clubs, since the age of 6, when he started in goal, had not been given the specific Goalkeeper training he needed to help him improve.
Secondly, at this age he is unlikely to have the fully ability, strength or power to have great distribution skills. Not many do.
And Thirdly, following on from the second comment there is the issue that such Academies expect players to be the full package and if it a certain age they don’t have it then they release them… Even if (as is the case in many children) they are late developers.
So what happens then… after all a child goes to play football for a team as they are interested… And with having such a passion for the game, having their hopes dashed or in this case being effectively told that you’re not good enough… I think one of 2 things happen, that they either brush it off and try again or they get disillusioned with it and walk away. Unfortunately the latter happens and that could mean a late developing talent never gets chance to even develop, and yet another potentially great player has gone!
We often read in the press of big premier league clubs signing players as young as 6 years of age and building them up as the next big thing… Where are these players now, as very few make the grade and get cast aside like that of the 13 year old discussed earlier.
Why do we look at only short-term gains, rather than long-term goals? This makes the academy system appear as being like some of those floated business models, that have to appease share holders and obtain short-term successes. Those business models, that do not necessarily catering for the long-term, which ultimately can cost the business dear… Surely there is something that these club academies could do that caters for all and looks at the long-term?
Yes I understand that football clubs invest a lot of money in development and sometimes they get it right, but surely there is a better way of helping and safeguarding children… a way that doesn’t cause such upset and keeps them interested and involved, so that when they finally hit their form they are still in the game? Would this ensure that club academies keep their reputations in tact rather than frustrate a child (and parent) who may converse such frustrations to others, potentially damaging their brand?
In the case of the 13 year old I mentioned, I hope that his Dad and him aren’t too disillusioned and that he now gets the coaching he needs. As, you never know, he could be a star goalkeeper one day or if not that he at least becomes accepting of not making it… because he was at least given a fair chance!
Perhaps treating kids right will help us develop a better future for them and the next generation? Building the blocks for future success?