Choosing the right team for your child can make or break their love for football.
You may be at the stage where your child wants to join their first football team or perhaps you want to move to a new club.
The following tip will help make sure you have the best chance choosing the most suitable team.
1. Check the training
Test the training at 2-3 clubs and look for things like:
How often does your player have the ball at their feet?
Are they active for a majority of the session or just stood around listening to the coach?
How many players are at the session/how many teams does the club have?
If your player is surrounded by another 40 kids you need to think how much chance do they have of playing matches if they are going up against so many others.
What is the coach to player ratio?
If there are over 16 children to 1 coach then consider just how much contact time and coaching your child will receive.
2. Ask the right questions
Kids have a great way of telling adults what they think we want to hear.
Instead of asking questions like ‘did you enjoy it?’ ask:
What did you enjoy most?
What was the main thing you learnt?
What did the coach say to you?
This gets them thinking and from that you will be able to gauge if they actually did enjoy it.
It will open a conversation and you can then tell if that session was suitable based on their feedback.
Above anything else, can you actually see that they enjoyed it? If they jump in the car beaming with a massive smile then that maybe tells you everything you need to know.
3. Talk to the coach
Sounds obvious but you can learn a lot just by talking to the coach to see how they come across.
Are they the type of person you would want coaching your child?
Good questions to ask are things like:
Do they have set positions for each player?
It’s important your child is given a chance to learn the game and being given a position at a very young age can be detrimental to their development.
You want to be joining a team that promotes time in a varied amount of positions over the course of the season.
What is their plan on development?
You want to be joining a team that is focused on individual development over winning.
If the coaches focus purely on winning at the expense of actually developing each individual player, you need to question whether that is the team for you.
At the primary school age, it is important children are given the chance to develop their ability and they may not get this if the manager is focused only on winning above the needs of each individual.
How long have they been coaching?
Some coaches are simply thrown into coaching a team because they happen to be a parent of a player.
That’s fine but it is good for you to know their experience at the outset so you can set your expectations accordingly.
You’ll know not to expect Pep Guardiola-style training if the coach explains they’ve just started.
If he/she comes across as enthusiastic and clearly has the needs of the players at the forefront of their thinking then they might be better than a really experienced coach who is only in it for themselves.
Choosing the right team can be tricky and it’s even harder if you have never played/coached or even been interested in football before.
If you’d like some advice please email email@example.com and we’ll gladly help.
Foot-Tech Academy is a children’s football coaching school in Leeds that provides a skills-based curriculum to help kids improve fast.
We are not a team, we simply provide a non-pressurised environment where children can learn at their own pace under the guidance of highly talented, professional coaches.
If you'd like more info on our weekly football sessions please click here