That’s right I said it, I think that all teams that are setting up Junior teams should stop right now!! Well that is at least what I would do if I could turn back time. I even made this mistake myself, when I was Head Coach of the North East Academy I started a Youth team. We did very well our first season then built and moved up to the Junior age group with a team that had played football for a few years but even now I still think that this was wrong.
I have since moved to Gateshead Senators and again I made the same mistake, setting up a Youth team I thought was a fantastic idea but I’m now sat in the off season thinking I have messed up. I have looked at a few of the big boys in the league and how they produce players and when I got to looking I thought it all started with Youth football… it doesn’t.
Let’s be honest it all starts with U12 flag football so I’m starting that up at Gateshead now but I wish that I had of just started with it in the first place. We have run two training sessions for U12 and have had an amazing response and that is even before I have invited the kids from the schools we work in.
I know when most people first looked at this they would have thought “well this guy is going to be a meme by the time I’m done reading” but I really do think starting up a U12 flag team is the best way to grow the sport and fair play to all the teams that have done this you guys have really opened my eyes to this.
The benefits from an U12 team are huge, the kids get to play for longer before switching to contact, most of the schools you get to go into are primary which is your target audience. I really think that instead of the talk of “any new teams must have a Junior team” just everyone go spare a few hours and set up a U12 flag team and wait to see how much better our sport will be in 10 years time.
I would just like to say a quick thank you to some of them; East Kilbride Pirates helped me way back at the North East Academy and even now when I’m at Gateshead. I also got to talk at length with some of the guys at the Warriors when I was down in London with the Jags and you guys really helped, also a huge thanks to the guys at the Manchester Titans.
I must say that the list of people who try to help you with Youth football is huge and I’m very grateful for all the advice and I hope to pass on some of the things I have learned along with some of the drills/program I use in schools (some people may want to know) so that we can all grow the sport because, let’s be honest, people will still be playing long after we are all gone.
So i will say it once again STOP SETTING UP JUNIOR TEAMS!!
P.S. please don’t make me a meme!