WaiBOP Football urge clubs to focus on right priorities for junior players

posted in: Juniors, News

WaiBOP Football has confirmed it will no longer publish the results and league tables for all junior football for players aged 12 or under.

This is consistent with NZ Football recommendations and matches what other regional federations have already implemented throughout the country.

WaiBOP’s Federation Development Manager Ken Cresswell says it’s also in line with the recent Sport NZ ‘Keep Up With the Play’ campaign to which four major sports, including football, have endorsed.

Explaining the decision not to publish results and tables, wrote to affiliated clubs, including Cambridge FC:

“The NZF Whole of Football Plan was created to engage more junior players in the game and provide positive experiences of enjoyment and development.

“International research comprehensively indicated that this would grow the game through increased player retention, lead to more contact time and therefore opportunities to develop players of a higher quality.

“If we wish to grow the game and raise the standard of players, it’s key that we create an environment that is based on enjoyment, development AND wanting to win.

“Our ‘player-centred’ approach has been developed to build competition as players get older.

“This dismisses the notion that there is such a thing as ‘non-competitive’ football. In every children’s match, even at First Kicks, the two teams want to try their best to win!

“However, the most important aspect is the nature of the environment we put those children in and the focus at a junior age concentrates more on development.

“We are attempting to ensure that children remain competitive but there is minimised adult-led, over-emphasis on winning.

“This has been shown to lead to unnecessary pressure on players, punishments for losing and negative impact on player enjoyment.

“Teams will still compete and know if they have won or lost. Players will know who has scored the goals – but there will be no points ladder.

“In the car ride home after the game, junior players will have moved on from the game of football – we are hoping that not publishing results/ladders can encourage the adults to do the same.”

More information

Click here to read about NZ Football’s support of Keep Up With the Play >>>>

Click here to read Stuff.co.nz’s report: A Sporting Chance: The Seismic Shift Happening in Youth Sports >>>>