Children love playing football

Children love playing football; that fact is indisputable. The Football Association takes seriously its role as the guardian of the game at all levels in this country – that is why it developed its Child Protection Policy, Procedures and Practices, as well as The F.A./NSPCC Child Protection Help line. The inaugural F.A. Child Protection in Football Conference was held on Wednesday 7th November at Pride Park, Derby, with over 400 delegates from across the game coming to listen to experts in the field of Child Protection in Sport, and to take part in one of a number of Child Protection workshops. NEWS STORY: On Friday 8 June 2001, one of Britain’s top swimming coaches, Mike Drew, was due to be sentenced to a substantial prison sentence, for ten offences of indecent assault going back almost 25 years. [Please note that the sentencing has now been postponed.]

John Stevens, MD of sports coach UK, comments: “Although I don’t know the individual and Mr. Drew has no connection with sports coach UK, this tragic situation highlights the need for awareness of the issues surrounding child abuse in sport. Britain’s coaches face huge responsibilities when nurturing our young sporting talent to ensure they do not end up on the wrong side of the law. Sports coach UK is committed to raising awareness of and implementing action plans for child protection and ensuring that sport is fun and safe for all children. Since 1996, the organisation has worked in partnership with the NSPCC, Sport England; home country sports councils and the police to develop information, guidance, training and implementation support for child protection policies.

Increased parental, legal and media concern regarding children’s welfare is leading to searching questions being asked about the potential for child abuse within sport. We are, in fact, working with swimming’s governing body to develop checks and balances – and we know they are serious about addressing this issue, but the sad lesson we must all learn from this disturbing case is that we must all be vigilant, eternally vigilant against paedophilia.”


sports coach UK has developed a number of courses to help the coach become aware of best practices in this extremely delicate area. While it cannot comment on specific cases, it is obvious that there is a need to address this serious problem. The aim of the sports coach UK courses is to help the coaches understand the practices associated with their responsibilities towards the children in their care, focusing on the main areas that protect not only the child, but also the coach. With the ever-increasing popularity of participation in youth sports by both disabled and able-bodied children, we now need to look at the person who will be guiding our children, the coach. Many believe that being a coach is an easy job and can be done without much thought. This may be true for many individuals, but it is a very tough job.

Being a coach is much more than just telling the child where to stand. It entails a realm that is intense and involved. Most of the time your find that coaches either coach disabled children or they don’t. Most coaches that coach disabled children will concentrate on just teaching them rather than crossing over as the guidelines have to be a lot stricter with disabled children, and some would say that you require a lot more patience. There are also many similarities in teaching able-bodied children and disabled children. Coaching children with disabilities is no different than coaching able-bodied children. The children need to be treated as individuals and the coaches need to know the child’s limit and their capabilities. The coaches then need to emphasize these qualities so that the child will obtain, and possibly exceed, the goals set for them.

There is a lot of information that is available for those persons who are looking to coach disabled athletes. It is suggested that research about information is done before you begin to coach so that you will be fully informed. “The person who has the knowledge is much more powerful than the person who does not”. The main challenge for coach is recognize the age range they are coaching making sure they stay within the needs of that age range.

When coaching or teaching children of this age the emphasis must be on enjoyment, participation and opportunity. Children of this age wont remember specific coaching points and so there is no point using coaching points. As long as you get the very basics across there is no need to go into coaching points, most children of this age will not understand coaching points and will struggle to transfer what you say into the skill. The activities like for all ages should be safe, you shouldn’t use any equipment that can fit into a Childs mouth, so you should make sure you use big balls rather than small ones.

Children of this age are very prone to accidents and so must be checked on all the time, there are very clumsy and are always falling over so it is important that the sports do not have a lot of contact as that will increase the risk of accidents. It is also important that the equipment is suited to children of this age, for example you should use soft balls as anything else will cause accidents, there is no point giving a 4 year-old a cricket ball as it will only cause an injury. At his age as long as children are having fun is doesn’t really matter what type of activity they are doing, you could introduce sport like football netball but you would be looking at the very basics lie learning how to kick a football and how to two and catch.

In this age group they will start to understand instructions better and therefore they should have the opportunity to develop new skills. You should introduce a wide variety of movement activities to teach and develop balance and agility. The main the aim at this age is to develop skill but a small amount of healthy low key competition should be introduced, as this will not only make the activities fun for the children it will also get children used to competing which they will have to do as they get older. Children at this age are still too young for contact sports like rugby, but you can introduce a restricted version of the game Tag Rugby.


When you get to this age you a more capable of analysing your own performances and by now you will have developed many skills. These are the most important years in terms of sporting progression; by this age you will start to decide whether you interested enough to continue playing the sports. This means you should have the opportunity to extend knowledge, planning and decision-making. As well as these it is the coaches/teachers job make sure they have plenty of guidance in mental and physical preparation. Children are developing at different speeds and so children that use to the best at something because they developed quicker may be lacking behind as everyone else has caught so coaches must look as this and try and use confidence building and motivation to ensure they stick at the sport.

The coach or teacher should make sure that the children have a balanced approach to sport and that playing is enjoyable and rewarding. If anyone is losing interest in a sport at this age it is probably down to being pushed to hard, even though someone maybe extremely talented in a sport it is important not to push them too hard as they may lose interest altogether, at this time in their life’s there are other important things going and should be aloud to dedicate time to everything. This is the age when you will involve contact sports and is probably when you will separate the male sports with female sports. The gulf in skill means that you to improve everyone’s learning that there should be same sex groups. This age group is where you will start to introduce sports and to define sports to the children, before they would have thought that the throwing and catching is a sport; you would now introduce some of the basic sporting skills they have learnt previously into sport.

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