This weekend saw the introduction of ‘Positive Weekend’ across Lancashire’s youth football, as the county’s FA look to improve the experience at matches for young people.
It marks the fifth anniversary of ‘Silent Weekend’; when youth clubs in the county were first challenged to have silent touchlines, with the aim of giving children the chance to think for themselves on the pitch.
As part of the Respect campaign, ‘Positive Weekend’ was designed to take away the pressure that children and young people feel from the touchline.
Parents and managers were encouraged to refrain from giving constant instruction from the sidelines, allowing the players to make their own decisions.
They were instead asked to match the noise level at games with praise and encouragement.
It is hoped that this approach will make playing football a more enjoyable experience for children and young people.
Around 140 clubs in Lancashire signed up for ‘Positive Weekend’.
Neil Yates, Safeguarding and Welfare Officer at Lancashire FA, said: “The overwhelming message coming back from the children was that the thing they hate most about football is being put under pressure from the touchline by incessant instruction, often which is conflicting instruction.
“We’ve asked that people let the children and young people work it out for themselves and give them a bit of freedom.
“We also wanted to try and make it as sociable an occasion as possible, just to make it a little bit memorable.
“Hopefully it’ll be a catalyst for a change in direction in future.”
Gillibrand Warriors U10s coach Leigh Jeffrey was pleased with how the campaign had an impact at her side’s match at the weekend.
She said: “It gives the children that opportunity to have ownership of the game and to actually go out and feel that they can be positive.
“We had really supportive parents and I think the other team did too.”
Lancashire FA asked clubs and parents to get involved by posting images from the weekend using the hashtag #praisenotpressure.
They are also looking for people who took part in the weekend, whether as a player, referee, coach or parent, to complete a survey about their experiences on their website.
Go to www.lancashirefa.com/news/2019/mar/08/tell-us-what-you-thought-of-positive-weekend-2019 to give your thoughts.