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Young Goalkeeper Development – Don’t Forget The Parents!

Let’s face it for young football players, we need to take a moment to think about their parents….

…They are the people who become the taxi service to the potential stars of the future… The people who can be the support network for their children, lifting their spirits when their children feel they have had a bad game… And those people who also have the power to pull the child out of a team or development centre if they feel that their child is not being treated correctly.

We need to take our hats off to the parents. But also the clubs and development centres need to ensure that the parents can in some way help the children develop, by getting them involved or ensuring that they understand the childs needs as a footballer or even making sure that communication channels are strong…

Communication matters

What are they doing? How is this training going to help? Are just a couple of comments I have heard on the sidelines as a spectator at a development centre. With one of the parents so disillusioned that he took his daughter out of the centre and never returned… Had he stayed he would have seen the presentation they gave, which explained perfectly what was actually happening. His daughter was improving but because she was not practicing shooting at goal all the time, it was felt that the centre was not actually helping her (even though she was developing the other aspects of her game)… Yes it does sound far-fetched, but sometimes the reasons for children leaving clubs or centres can be this extreme!

It is therefore very important to involve the parents, to ensure that they understand. Which is why this week at the Academy we gave a presentation to the parents.

The results of this presentation were extremely positive. In fact, the presentation actually turned into a forum, where the conversation really opened up between coaches and parents. With some very positive feedback indeed…

Communication is very important not only with the children but the parents too!

Psychology for Parents

As a parent to an aspiring Goalkeeper I have been there and done that. I have made mistakes, but I have also seen that as parents we can all make them. Not realising that the or actions we do or the words we say, actually may have an impact on our child that we weren’t expecting.

I once offered my daughter a financial incentive for a clean sheet, but would then see her head drop if a goal went in. I’m not the only parent to do this, as I have seen it countless times, with the similar outcomes to mine. Of course I learnt from this and now don’t offer a financial incentive, instead offering positive advice and support – Plus it’s cheaper too! Unfortunately some parents still have to learn this, but sometimes it is not always that easy to see how one action meant in good faith, can actually have a negative impact.

So there is an education process that is required – Parents need our support too!


As previously discussed feedback was given in the presentation by the parents. We also gathered it at the end of the last term as parents need to feel involved in this Academy and feel they have a voice not only in the development of the Academy, but also at a personal level for the development of their child.

But there is even more feedback that is far more valuable than this. A parent can be your eyes and ears. They could become your scouting network. Feeding back information to coaches of how their player performed. The things they did well and… not the bad, but instead relaying back to the coaches on the things they need to improve on.

Feedback of any kind is worth its weight in gold!

These are just 3 aspects of why parents are important to your club or development centres. Get them involved, make them feel special and above all listen to them! 😉

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