More important that create player is create great human beings…

In this article I will (once again), give my opinion about my beliefs and the way that I like to work on the development. Share your thoughts and ideas on the comments below.

Over this weekend, my team had a game. Normal game between two U9’s teams. The opponent team had very talented and smart player, they played really well. At a certain point of the game, one of my player was down on the ground (he got hurt), the referee stopped the game and allowed me to assist my player, nothing too serious happened, and my player was able to continue the game. The referee instructed my team to move back and dropped the ball for the other team, that took a shot and scored. Obviously, I wasn’t happy with this lack of fairplay, but I let it pass. On the third part of the game, exactly the same situation happened, and once again the referee proceed the same way (telling my players to step back), and give the ball to the opponent player, that scored again. This time I had to ask the opponent coach and the referee what the rules and the Fairplay policy says about it. For my surprise, the opponent coach told me, and I quote “At this age, they’re to young to understand the values of Fairplay. It was the referee’s fault because it should give the ball to your player pass back to us, we see the chance, we take it. No matter Fairplay or not…”

Well, this kind of judgement and values that we passing to the MEN of tomorrow should be way different. Are we telling, showing and approving that if a player is down we should take advantage of that? Where are the values of Fairplay on the Grassroots?

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

The values and education should be passed around to the children at the very beginning of their lives, from the parents, family members, friends, teachers, and of course, the Coaches.

Billy Graham said one day, “A Coach will impact more young peoples in a year, than the average people does in a Lifetime.”

It’s coaches (and everyone else that I mentioned before) responsibility to teach the children of today, how to be the MEN of tomorrow.

Here is a list of values that I think will serve your children well as they immerse themselves in sports and as they leave those youth sports experiences behind (in no particular order):

  • Honesty;
  • Commitment;
  • Work ethic;
  • Pursuit of personal excellence;
  • Love of sport;
  • Fun;
  • Respect of self and others;
  • Being a good sport;
  • Humility;
  • Teamwork;
  • Patience;
  • Perseverance;
  • Resilience;
  • Best effort;
  • Embrace failure;
  • Balanced life;
  • Physical health.

(All this values together should be the definition of FAIRPLAY)

As part of the cognitive process of the values, we should compare to unhealthy values such as:

  • Winning is the ultimate goal;
  • Win at any cost;
  • Bravado;
  • Selfishness;
  • Machismo;
  • Callousness;
  • Pursuit of fame and fortune.

Show your players this two lists, and without surprise they all will understand and respect the healthy values of the sports/life.

Fairplay shouldn’t just be a ideology, it needs to be a attitude and a responsibility behavior.

This should be the definition of Fairplay in the dictionary: “Fair competition, respect, friendship, team spirit, equality, sport without doping, respect for written and unwritten rules such as integrity, solidarity, tolerance, care, excellence and joy, are the building blocks of fair play that can be experienced and learnt both on and off the field.”

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Soccer Coach at Benfica Soccer School of Toronto and Soccer HUB content specialist. Founder of Canadian Soccer Coaches Network!

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