Friday, September 2, 2011

Why our kids can't win (or lose)

AFL recommendations for junior players and why the Raiders Under 11s can’t lose…… or win.
For the past two seasons our Under 11 football team has been prevented from losing or winning thanks to the wisdom of the Central Murray Football Netball League’s Board of Management.
The Central Murray Board has submissively followed an AFL recommendation “to make junior football less competitive and remove the pressure from the younger players”. What they haven’t said, but is commonly acknowledged at club level, is this recommendation came about because of poor crowd behaviour in some areas of Melbourne.
Poor crowd behaviour is not an issue for clubs within the CMFNL. Perhaps we are just a happier bunch up here in the country with a stronger sense of community? Or maybe we have a better grasp on good sportsmanship? Despite this fact the Central Murray Board still insisted the clubs follow their ruling of no scoring, no ladder and no premiership for the Under 11s. Despite the fact that none of the then 12 clubs within the CMFNL wanted those AFL recommendations adopted. I question the role of the Central Murray Board and if their dictatorship style of management is beneficial for the future of football? Was their decision to follow AFL recommendations purely based on the promise of financial kickbacks from the AFL?
Speaking with the Raiders Under 11s super coach, Shane “Jumbo” Guerra last week, he emphasised the importance to young players of both winning and losing. Stating while everyone wants to win, there are often more lessons to be learnt when you lose.
Anyone listening to Jumbo’s coaching advice to his young players at training on a Wednesday night or at a game on a Saturday morning, cannot help but be impressed with the strong respect he commands and the excellent sportsmanship he instils. Listening to the way some people speak to their contemporaries, parents, teachers or employers, respect and sportsmanship are important life lessons that appear to be on the wane in many areas of modern society.
Under 11s football is not Auskick. These players are fully paid members of the Koondrook Barham Football & Netball Club and yet they are denied the opportunity to play competitively in an official sense. In a world where concern is growing about the decreasing resilience of our young people and the rise of the “Nanny State”, I question how removing healthy competition is beneficial to our children?
U11 Raiders at Nyah, June 2011

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