Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Grassroots football: Report no 1.

So the Junior football season is up and running in Canberra, and across the whole nation.

Here in the Capital we have 17,000 registered players. So thought I should drop a line each week on the game, the parents, the kids, the game.

It's a limited view, it's my view and it may or may not meet with your opinion.
But that as they say is just how it is.
Small Sided Games is all the rage, here's an unrepresentative view from Canberra

Gold Star: Gungahalin FC. Judging by their website they are progressing well. Ahead of many clubs in town, and certainly Australia I'd say.Gungahlin FC

Like the Pee Wee program, Roo Ball is also non-competitive football (soccer), except teams are generally based on friendship / school groups. The current criteria used to place children in a team are previous year teams or school attending where possible.

Under 6s to Under 8s will be playing 5-a-side games with no goalkeepers and Under 9s will be playing 7-a-side games with goalkeepers.

Silver star:

North Canberra Club 1:
Have over 140 boys in the Under 8's; they have found it impossible to break this group into the recommended 5-a-side with no goalkeepers.

Understandably, like many clubs lacking ground space, some planning will need to continue if their players are to get the best development, or shunt off to Gungahlin FC!

Bronze star:
North Canberra Club 2:
Switched from large goals with goalkeepers and six outfield players in the under 8's last year, to small goals with Goalkeepers and six sill outfield this year. Duh.

Can't work that out, how is that going to produce more goals, more fun?

And Under 9 have large fields, huge fields and 9 players on the field.

Interestingly the Under 9's could be broken into teams of 7 and play across the field. Seems no-one has thought of this...yet!

Having played in England as a twelve year old over thirty years ago I played on small fields. It's disappointing to see this clubs half-baked attempt, with 9 year olds having to cover huge areas of ground on a 4/5 sized pitch.

And these three clubs, I suspect, are representative of this wide brown land.

Hats off to the volunteers at all clubs. And ask yourself what you can do to improve your kids experiences even with the resource problems your club may have.

With the FFA stating the way ahead clubs should be challenged as to why they haven't made the switch. Surely our kid, my kid, your kids deserve the best football experience don't they?

And clubs in Canberra, after the release of the Mitchell report in 2004, well really they have no excuse not to be up to speed by now. It's 2008 already!


Anonymous said...

Yes there is a rather wide and varied mix of implementations in Canberra. For the record the GUFC format is actually the agreed format for GUFC, Belsouth, and Belwest who all participate in an inter-club comp from U7 - U9. This is great because whilst they don't have table and grand finals etc, they at least get to play against different clubs and players.

Also for the record, GUFC only have 4 fields for over 1000 juniors, field space is not the main issue. It is more willingess and ignorance, though I must say CF in their typical fashion made an absolute mess of their initial implementation leaving the clubs high and dry.

Eamonn said...

Thanks for your comment.

I had assumed that GUFC had less players therefore this had possibly contributed to the clubs ability to introduce the SSG's entirely.

Many clubs have told me space space space is the problem. Clearly as you say, "willingness and ignorance" are the issues.

Hats off to GUFC, Belsouth and Belwest.