As well as being clear on what you and your club stand for, it’s really important for coaches in the Youth Development Phase to take the time to carefully consider the young people they coach and ‘who they are’.
Pippa Grange discusses what this might mean to you:
Fostering a sense of belonging is important in the Youth Development Phase, especially within peer groups. It’s vital that this is acknowledged and that coaches strive to shape an experience in which young people feel valued, feel a sense of belonging and where they can truly be themselves and thrive.
Think about your own coaching environment and consider the following questions:
- To what extent do the players you coach feel a sense of belonging; both within the group and the wider club?
- To what extent do you involve the players in shaping their culture?
- Do the young people you coach have the possibility to build confidence by achieving elements of success, both on and off the pitch?
Coaches play a huge part in shaping the culture and developing players who feel free to express themselves, who develop self-discipline, who can think independently and who can increasingly take responsibility. Coaches can help facilitate an inclusive environment where young people feel empowered by giving them opportunities to take ownership of decisions. Whether intentional or not, the culture the youngsters find themselves in will influence their experience of football and their love of the game.
To find out more, explore our Youth Development Phase DNA playlist.