5 key rules when managing a kid’s football team
So, you’ve decided to manage a kid’s football team. Perhaps your own child is playing and you’ve stepped up to the mark when a manager is needed. Perhaps you’re helping out a friend who needs a football-minded volunteer to take charge. Whatever your reasons for stepping to the fore, here are five simple rules to remember. Let’s kick off.
Love what you do – This is the number one rule. Don’t take on the position if you don’t have a passion for football. If you don’t enjoy the beautiful game, this role could easily become a chore. You’ll most likely be working as a volunteer, so it’s vital that you’ve got an interest in the sport. There are times when you’ll have to go out in bad weather and motivate a team of kids who may well want to be indoors playing video games. If you don’t want to be there, why should they? What’s more, the happier you are, the happier your team should be.
Be fair and balanced – When coaching a junior team, not all of your players are going to be at the same level. You will have players who find the net every game and can win you matches. Conversely you will have weaker players, and these players have just as much of a right to play as the match-winners do. It’s inadvisable to play your strongest team every week. Doing so can cause unrest amongst players and parents, and can even push players on the margin of the team to leave or stop playing football altogether. Picking your teams in a fair manner is best, making sure everyone has an equal amount of game time. Be sure, however, to balance your team correctly, making sure weaker players are covered by stronger ones.
Results matter, to a point – Of course results matter. Football is a competitive game after all. How much they matter depends on the age group. Younger age groups should not be focused on results, and most leagues will not run a competitive league for these bands. The FA, too, actively discourage it. As your players go through the age groups, results start to matter more. You will play in league and cup competitions, and you will, quite rightly, want to win. Be realistic in your aims, however. A cup run and a league’s worth of fixtures can be tough. Be flexible in your selections and make wise decisions. If you’re still in the cup and not going to win the league and you find safety from relegation, perhaps mix up your starting 11s and focus more on the cup.
Build a support team – This is a big task you’re taking on, and one you won’t be able to handle on your own. It’s best to enlist the help of as many people as you can, that way you’ll have back up if you’re ever let down. Some positions you may consider filling are as follows: treasurer, to handle money (subs etc), and the team’s bank account; coach, if you’re not taking on the role yourself; assistant manager, should you need someone to confer with; and a helpful team of parents for helping to set up before and after games and acting as linesmen/referees when necessary. The more hands the better with this one.
Keep it fun – Last but not least, keep it fun. These are kids you’re working with, and the whole point of being a child is to enjoy yourself. Don’t take the sessions or matches too seriously. Yes, you want to get things done and make progress, but don’t take it too far so that your team starts to resent the game. You want your players to look forward to training, not make excuses not to turn up. At times it may be hard to keep the attention of an excitable gang of youngsters. Be patient, earning their respect and learning how to handle them will come with time and experience. Make your sessions fun, and make sure to reward and praise your players when they do something good. Happiness is the most important thing.
If you’re looking to set up a junior football team, you might want to consider taking on a non-geographic phone number such as an 08 or 03 number. These come packed with features and are great for both the caller and number-owner(0330 numbers along with 0333,0345 and 0370 allow for a NGN that is charged at the same rate as standard 01 and 02 numbers).