It’s that time of the year! Empty footy fields in January are now being filled up with thousands of excited kids, fired up for the new season ahead!
Returning and new kids all choosing to play the greatest game of all!
That same footy field is also surrounded by us adults!
Excited and nervous coaches and parents – we all want our kids to do well, right!?
Different coaches’ parents and clubs have different ideas of what success looks like!
Some are fun-focused, some are results-orientated, some quietly sit on the sideline, hoping their kids don’t get hurt, others want their kids to put their body on the line for the win-at-all-costs.
I’m a Coach, a Parent, and part of a great club.
I’ve seen some teams who’ve stayed together for many seasons.
I’ve seen clubs go out and somehow gain the biggest and best from other teams and districts to win another premiership!
I’ve also seen teams fold before the season’s end.
What’s the difference between one and the other? Why do some clubs retain a large percentage of players whilst others struggle?
From my journey, here are a few ways to keep your kids playing Footy!
- Coaches – Have a clear and fair selection process.
- Junior Footy is not the NRL!
Every kid needs to have the opportunity to put into practice what they’ve trained for.
A kid placed on the wing each week, even in Division 1, may only touch the ball 4-5 times in a whole season.
Don’t get me wrong, it feels great to win! But even winning teams won’t guarantee a returning team.
- Coaches, Parents, and Club Officials – value each other’s contributions
- We all need each other – No Coaches mean no footy! No parents mean no kids and no footy! No club officials mean no games and no footy!
We all can get on each other’s nerves, but when we work together what we’re a part of is pretty sweet!
- Everyone – Keep it fun!
- This season we’ve had heaps of new kids come to our club!
I’m sure one of the reasons is post covid and as parents, we want the kids off those blasted devices! But the other reason we’re hearing is coming from new kids, whose mates have told them how good last season was – regardless of their division or results.
Train hard, play hard, laugh hard! Everyone loves that!
- Clubs – Create a culture of belonging
- If you’re a fossil like me, you might remember an old TV show called “Cheers” and their theme song, “Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name!”
Kids will stay in a place where they feel they belong – as do adults.
It’s pretty awesome to see a Grandad or Dad watching their Grandson or daughter play footy for the club they played for!
(I’m pretty privileged to have both our Ron Massey Coach and Trainer’s daughters playing in my team!)
The successful clubs, though not perfect, do this pretty well. That’s a sign of a belonging culture.
Cheers everyone! BRING ON THE FOOTY!!