I found this site very thought-provoking: Give us back our game. It argues that kids’ football has been spoiled by the over-active participation of adults.
Today’s children learn from the grown-ups . Without the freedom of the streets their early experiences of football are organised supervised and coached. They have no real say in what happens, and they don’t have time to develop and learn.
The problem areas are:
* No longer the children’s game – it is controlled by adults
* The same children on the bench or omitted every game
* Coaches and parents screaming from the touchlines
* Winning before fun and development
* Not enough free play where children can solve their own problems
* Children are not encouraged to express themselves
* Children no longer learn about the spirit of the game for themselves
There are few things more toxic to learning than overzealous people who think they know best and who don’t separate their own experience from those they are supervising.
I think it was Donald Winnicott who distinguished between parents who liked to regulate their children – basically telling them what to do – and those who facilitated, focussing on creating a safe space and on engaging with what the child was interested in. He illustrated this with his observations of how a parent and child engaged with as mundane an object as a spatula.
Hat tip: Tom Watson’s tweet