Why Big Score Lines Aren’t All Fun and Games
In this blog, Cissy Radford, Football Development Officer (Women and Girls) for Lincolnshire Football Association shares her thoughts on creating sustainable football for girls and why this matters so deeply for the growth of the women and girls’ game.
If asked to define football development for women and girls, our knee jerk answer might be ‘get more women and girls playing football’. It has taken me almost a year in my post as Women and Girls Football Development Officer at Lincolnshire FA to realise that football development is only as good as your holistic empathy and your long-term vision. Football is one of the most powerful societal means by which to engage people from all walks of life to develop and succeed, but if we focus solely on increasing participation, we might fail to water and nurture what already exists.
On Monday 30th January, alongside FA Tutor Matt Evans, the Lincolnshire Women and Girls League hosted an online CPD workshop entitled ‘The Impact of High Scoring Games’. We were joined by both coaches and players who shared openly about the challenges we face in ensuring that our game and our league are fit for purpose for all those who participate in it.
The question of ‘how do we keep our players happy, engaged, challenged and wanting to stay in the game, all at once?’ is one that was put at the heart of this workshop. If our players are on the receiving end of double figure score lines week in week out, are they developing? If our players are comfortably victorious week in week out, are they developing? To answer both of those questions simply: no. Our players will experience fleeting euphoria and uncomfortable life lessons, sure. But mentally and technically, both sides of that coin are redundant when they become the norm.
We must strive to develop not only excellent footballers, but also excellent girls. As leaders in football, I believe it is our duty to invest time in attending to the hopes, fears and feelings of girls to squander ineffective and unproductive football. When we think bigger than our game at the weekend, and bigger than our current season, we put the emphasis on sustainable development. The onus is now on the league (or me, as the league’s Development Officer!) to take the testimonies of the players and coaches out there on the field and put long term and strategic changes in place that put development at the centre of everything we do.
Cissy will be delivering coach and player forums as the end of the football season approaches that will help to shape the format and governance of the age divisions for next season. If you’d like to get involved with this, or share your thoughts on the above please contact Cissy via firstname.lastname@example.org