Wiltshire FA's Charter Standard Club of 2018 and 2019
" . . the fact is that kids learn to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions." Alfie Kohn, Lecturer in Education and Psychology
We do things differently here!
Our philosophy is clear.
Youth football is a KIDS' game. It belongs to kids not to adults.
Kids do not (and should not) play for adult entertainment. They should play for themselves. They should play because they love football. This love of the game drives development. You can see it every time a truly great player plays. Our job is to cherish that love of the game and use it to promote individual and football development.
We have developed some very clear rules to help us return the game to the kids and to promote and foster their all-round development.
1. We prioritise individual development. It's far more important than the scoreline. Adults creating 'winning teams' of young children means the focus is on short-term wins not long-term development.
2. Our long-term development goals mean we don't hold trials. The 'best player' at 8 might be different to the 'best player' at 12. Good coaches coach all children, not just the handful they've deternmined to be 'the best' at a given age!
3. We expect high standards from our coaches and promote continuing professional development. As well as volunteers, we use highly qualified paid professional coaches who are not parents of players with the aim of guaranteeing a greater level of independence and expertise.
4. Our football is truly competitive. Real competitiion is not about moaning about the scoreline or chasing from club to club trying to get a place on a 'winning' team. It is about taking ownership of your own development, wanting to try hard, learn and improve. It's about being prepared to make decisions and 'mistakes'. We want our kids to be competitive, resilient and good learners. This is what aids development.
5. We organise equal pitch time for every child who regularly attends club sessions. No one learns by sitting on the sidelines. Our job is to keep all kids involved.
6. We rotate positions. The game has changed. Restricting children to certain positions on the pitch from a young age might help the scoreline but it undermines children's development. At our club, every child will get experience in all positions on the pitch. The evidence clearly supports this.
7. We don't direct play in matches. We set personal and team objectives to support our players. Kids learn by making their own decisions and we want to develop confident, thinking footballers. This can take time and patience so if you want your child to be spoon fed instructions by a coach, or if your focus is just the scoreline, we are definitely not the club for you!
8. Kids' voices will always be louder than the adults. We are not concerned with adult needs or egos. It's their game, let them play!
Football is also about values and about community. We are committed to making football affordable for all kids. No one should ever feel "priced out" of our national game.