Horwich St Mary’s this year have brought in new initiatives to try and aid child development and make playing football at their community club a more enjoyable experience for their young players. The idea was brought forward to host games where there is no referee with focus being that the kids referee themselves with a coach keeping an eye on proceedings. The club are keen to develop the children’s social skills, learning about responsibility and fairness and coach Andy Burns seems to be pleased with the success so far “They don’t cheat they’re quite honest, we make sure they shake hands before and after and it’s all about social behavior making sure they have respect and ultimately have fun”
Whilst the initiative is focused on the children Andy also believes this extends to the parents as well “I think the fact that its non-competitive helps create a relaxed atmosphere, at a lot of kids matches you’ll get a lot of shouting parents and when the kids get home it shouldn’t be…’ooh did you win’ it should be about whether they had fun’. The change has taken place for kids as young as seven playing five a side all the way up to the under 11’s and has been well received by parents and the club are urging anybody with children who perhaps want to join a team to contact and get involved!
There is talk at the FA (Football Association) about extending the non-competitive right up to 11-a side regardless of age.
5 a side – under 7’s and 8s
7 a side – under 9’s and 10s
9 a side – Under 11’s and 12’s
11 a side – Under 13’s and above can go to 11 side but now a choice to stay at 9 v 9.
Extending non competitiveness is a move that chairman at HSM Thomas Allon supports “Kids should have that choice, when they are around 9-10 to stay at 9 a side, some just enjoy the fun of playing and don’t want that pressure but of course some do and it’s all about giving them that choice” . The club can be found at http://www.horwichstmarys.co.uk/club/Contact or simply head on down to Scholes Bank in Horwich to speak directly to somebody at the club.