Self-Steem post Football First

Self-Esteem, The Critical Component For Youth Development In Football

One of the significant issues involving children and even adults, both personal and professional development is self-esteem.  

Nowadays, we engage our kids in a sports activity, so we can keep them physically active and let them socially interact with their team and or coaches. Therefore, most parents are questioning if their kids should worry about learning the game or instead, take the approach of only participating for health and general fitness purposes.  

“The question is: Does your kid want to play football only as a leisure activity or either improve his/her skills, also consider it as a potential career for his/her future?

Still, those children who would do it just for fun, like anyone else, do want to do well and naturally be part of the winning team. 

PROGRESS = HAPPINESS

Most times, there are situations where some children are not getting involved in the game of soccer as much because certain kids are getting more touches on the ball than others. This experience gives the child a lack of confidence as he or she believes that they are not good enough to play the game. On the other hand, parents and coaches rely on the hope that “he or she will improve later on”. It may occur, but the reality is when you’re playing a team sport like football, there is not much time to concentrate on addressing the individual’s weaknesses. In sports like tennis and golf, the training is focused on the individual improving their skills, which will enable them to play the game better. They do not go off playing games all the time. Indeed, they are playing matches 20% of their time and working on their skills 80% of their time.  

The critical factor is that self-esteem is a crucial component in youth development, and it does not come from playing the game but from being able to PERFORM a particular skill as a GROWTH indicator for anyone at any age. A child may say “I can’t do this” and that is invariably true most of the time. Now, this is where the coach should reply, “It’s ok. You certainly can, but would you like me to teach you how?” If the child or adult is open to learning and making the required effort, without a doubt, the knowledge will be acquired.

My experience as an ex-international footballer and during the last 20 years as a player’s development specialist for Football First, has provided me with hundreds of study cases conducted with both youth and professional players, and as a matter of fact, they all have a common denominator “ALL SKILLS ARE LEARNABLE”. 

Team games seem to be more suitable for the people who already have some basic skills and knowledge of the game. The children that do not have natural talent may struggle unless they get private coaching. Unless the system has enough suitably qualified coaches, with enough time to teach the children individually, they will be frustrated, and most of them may leave the sport as they are not enjoying it. 

Con Boutsianis 

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