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The performance culture in too many sports clubs is counterproductive

There are too many coaches and parents who perceive that success is all about their 10-year olds winning that league or tournament and that attitude is killing the interest in sport for many kids.

When we hear parents standing on the sideline at a football match for 10-year-olds and you hear a father shouting ‘break his leg’ or the parents watching a rugby league match for 8-year-olds starting a brawl having enjoyed some cans of lager at 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning  (both my own experiences) you start to worry.

And it seems that this is an international phenomenon.

In Denmark, the number of kids under 12 who are members at a football club has fallen 16.3% from 2012 to 2019 – from 155.551 members in 2012 to 130.113 in 2019. And there is widespread evidence that this drop is down overzealous and pressured coaching , focusing on winning and not emjoyment.

The Danish Fa are trying to address this challenge through top-down strategies and to put it simply, this is not working, obviously.   What is required is a bottom-up revolution, and not just in football in Denmark, but across traditional sports across the world.

Through our work with 4000 community sports providers, we have personally seen how a Positive  Person Path (3Ps) can have a significant impact on the culture at your club by ensuring that all coaches focus on the positive aspects of coaching and not the performance aspects until much later.

You should also be person-centred so that you are seeing people as individuals and just potential goalkeepers or fast-bowlers.

And then you should look at this as a path where you are leading people to do the right things, in the right sequence.

It can be done. Just ask Melissa Anderson who taken Valleys Gymnastics Academy from 100 members in 2011 to almost 3000 now.  Maybe the Danish FA should get in touch with her (I’ve got her number).

Good luck with introducing the 3Ps