I believe that football can be used to teach young people about their ability and constrained rights to make decisions (ie constrained by the ref, the rules and the other 21 players). It also teaches that you must live with the consequences of your own and other peoples' decisions, and that life should not be expected to be fair. But that you should play football, and life, as if to play fair is to win.
Therefore my coaching fundamentals have been to:
- tell children what to do only when necessary (and discourage parents from playing this role - that's for home and school)
- find the leaders (positive kids who play well for their division and age, but always play fairly)
- encourage the leaders to play fairly, ask them lots of questions about what they think is happening at training and on the field, and encourage them to prompt me about what to do next
- get the leaders to positively influence the play of other players
- discourage the whole team from making negative comments about their team mates or about the opposition
- encourage the team to call for the ball and talk to each other
- work with the leaders, particularly the team captain, to develop drills that address skill weaknesses
It appears that for many junior teams and some parents, children playing football is about either making sure the socceroos have enough Harry Kewells in the future, and, or winning by as many goals as possible. In my experience many officials are about the former and stress drills and physical development, and coaches are about the latter and therefore work towards short term results. These short term results are achieved (or not achieved) by shouting at the young players. This, at the least, passively encourages rough house play and, at its worst, ensures that teams are positioned in divisions below their ability. For an example, I watched an under 11 division 5 team win 13-0 and its parents celebrate a 'cricket score'.
For me, the physical activity of football is a great way to encourage young people to think. Still I can't understand the coaches that lecture kids for hours. I prefer to do this quitely, one-on-one with the ball at their feet.