By Gemma Bell
I have had a busy few months after making a decision to take up a couple of roles at a new club. I chose this club based on their love and drive for female participation in all aspects of the game. Hykeham Town FC not only cater for boys but also girls from all walks of life. The club is only four years old but the people driving the club show no sign of stopping and its growth is fast-paced. This year was Hykeham Town Ladies FC’s debut season whom, at the time of writing, sit top of their table: East Midlands Women’s Regional League Division 1 North.
It has provided me with more opportunities to engage with The FA and their England DNA; the DNA is England’s coaching and playing philosophy. Engaging with it is eye-opening. In particular, I have loved my conversations with Pete Sturgess, The FA’s Lead for 5-11-year-olds, which is also known as The Foundation Phase. His inspirational messages ring true to my own coaching philosophy where I would rather coach in a way that develops my players than to win-at-all-costs. When I coach my players, I don’t place an emphasis on what the score line is going to be at the end of the game or what the win-loss record might be at the end of the season.
That is not what drives me to make the decisions I make as a coach. I coach because I hope that, in 10-15 years’ time, my players will have had the best opportunities to be the best player that they can be. This could be them playing on a Sunday in a local Sunday league with their friends, or playing for their national team. I want them to be confident, creative and have a passion for the game that nobody can take away from them. I want to develop warriors who have a hunger and desire to win games but, equally, have the resilience to face losses and use them to learn and improve.
With this DNA, The FA aim to nurture players who are creative and can master the ball. I mean let’s face it, we are all bored of watching the England men’s team play football that is far from that of our innovative competitors. Modern football is fast-paced, it is skilled and it is exciting to watch. The game of futsal is widely recognised in Spain and Brazil, for example, for its benefits to fast-paced and skilful football. In England, our national teams’ ever-improving style of football goes hand-in-hand with the growth of futsal provision, and that’s no coincidence!
Photo credit: Taken from Hertfordshire FA JODY CAUDWELL: COACHING THE WHY
So what does that mean for the everyday grassroots parent stood on the sidelines? Well, it means that if your child’s coach is following the England DNA, you will (or should!) hear far less commands from the sidelines about how to play the game. Through small-sided games and promoting player ownership in training, we aim to create players who are able to go out on a Saturday or Sunday and play without constant direction and interruption from the sidelines. The players we will create will make mistakes but they will also make fantastic decisions and will be constantly learning whilst they play. It means that, as a parent, you might not understand what the coach is trying to achieve most of the time but, if you go and ask them, I’m sure you’ll be fascinated by the answer.
People say this all of the time: if Messi was English, would he have been the player that he is today? “Pass, pass!”, “Stick it out!” or “Get rid!” have killed our ability to play football. I have watched numerous videos of Messi growing up from 5 years old all the way through to now and he initially looks selfish on the ball but that is precisely how ball mastery is achieved!!! It is confidence not selfishness; it’s actually due to how a child develops. As Messi carried on and on throughout his learning journey, he learnt when to pass the ball and when to dribble with it. Now look at him, wouldn't we all want a Messi on our team?
I urge you to go to your clubs and find out if they’re following The FA’s England DNA or, at least, an adapted version. If you want to find out more and engage with the programme yourself then you can join The FA’s Hive Learning Community.
I urge both parents and coaches to use Hive, if you aren’t already: https://t.co/Rvl4Wf0jaW.
Once you have signed up, you will need to create a profile and then use the ‘Search’ bar to locate the ‘England DNA Foundation Phase’. Here, you will be able to access the information, resources and discussion boards for young players aged 5-11.
We don't want boring football anymore, do we?
...SO, WHAT ABOUT OUR PRINCESSES?
I was given the opportunity to head to St George’s Park, The FA’s National Football Centre, to engage with a programme that I am absolutely certain will make a difference to many girls both here in Lincoln and across the nation. The FA and SSE have launched an initiative designed to inspire girls aged between 5 to 11 to be involved in football. SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Centres aim to provide girls with regular opportunities to play football and take part in organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment.
#havefun #makefriends #lovefootball #ssewildcats
To find out more about Hykeham Town FC and the Hykeham Town SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Centre, which is the only one in the City of Lincoln area, please visit our club’s website: http://www.hykehamtownfc.co.uk/
By Maria Horner
We are about to extend an invitation to our neighbours to come and see the wonder of Sincil Bank!
Families who live around the Sincil Bank area, and from the wider area in Lincoln and who happen to be from the Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Slovakian etc (what some will refer to as the ‘Eastern European’ community) are being invited to come and see for themselves the football club on their doorstep.
The idea is that while the children in the area may be football mad and may have been caught up in Cowley fever perhaps at school, their parents may be unsure about attending a football match here.
There may be reasons around being concerned as to the reception they may get (perhaps underpinned by unrelated negative experiences) or they could have views on football matches based on images and reports of what football is like in their country of origin – which may be very different from what football has become here in the U.K.
I don’t want those kids to miss out on what their mates at school might be experiencing when they follow Lincoln City FC. I would like to open a door and say welcome to those kids and their families in and around Sincil Bank, and the city generally. Don’t forget many of these children may have been born in our fabulous city, and if not, certainly their living memory will be all about Lincoln. They too are a potential new generation of Imps!
I realise we are selling out more matches, but not every match will be. If we can just say to the people living within throwing distance of the stadium – come and enjoy what’s on your doorstep – that can’t be a bad thing can it? So why a special event? While many of the children will speak English as their first language, their parents may not. It’s about building those bridges and ensuring they know that Sincil Bank is a brilliant place to be for families as well as all other supporters.
I’m passionate about including people, and maximising the enjoyment you get, that feeling when people come together with a shared interest – obviously in our case Lincoln City FC. It’s how L.I.S.A was born...
As an affiliate member of the Football Supporters Federation our aims also chime with the Kick it Out campaign. When the club nominated a fixture to be its ‘Kick it Out’ fixture, as many clubs do, of course I thought L.I.S.A should be doing something to promote the message.
On the 22nd March 2018 L.I.S.A, Imps in the Community, LCFC and the Lincolnshire Polish Society will open up the VIP suite and we hope many families from those communities come and find out about our brilliant club. They will have the chance to win tickets to the nominated Kick it Out match fixture on Tuesday 17th April against Wycombe. Funding is coming from the club and the Fans for Diversity fund (Football Supporters Federation & Kick it Out).
It’s not been done before, all we can do is open the door and say, “Come in, it’s great to be an Imp!”
By L.I.S.A Committee
This month sees the first birthday of L.I.S.A and what an interesting and eventful year it has been. The arrival of Spring (said while looking at the thawing snow outside!) sees a manic month for us, yes, partly our own fault but also partly down to fixture movement and windows of opportunity. Friday 16th sees our L.I.S.A Band Night event at Rustons and we are pleased to report its nearing a sell out with over 100 Imps attending. Monday 19th and our Cowley v Cowley panel show hits the Engine Shed with an anticipated crowd of 600 Imps attending, brilliant. Thursday 22nd and we are hosting Eastern European families at Sincil Bank in support of this years designated Kick it Out fixture against Wycombe in April - encouraging new fans, fingers crossed!
To achieve such a lot in a short space of time has required our own team to expand considerably as well as having outside help from many different people and organisations. It’s fair to say we could write a book on it all never mind just do a blog update! In being extremely grateful for the support of so many we are conscious that this is an expensive time to be an Imp (blame the Cowley’s for the Wembley expense). While we have tried to keep costs to a minimum we know that there are real financial pressures on people so thank you, thank you to all of you spending your hard-earned cash in support of our events.
We think it is safe to say that when we are old and grey (or older and greyer for some of us) we will have some great stories to share with the grandkids, the “do you remember when..” type thing. If we can raise money for brilliant causes, if we can bring new supporters and revenue to our football club, if we can bring people and groups together and put some real purpose behind #ImpsAsOne – well, those are aims that we are happy to be that bit greyer for! Tickets remain available for both Band Night and Cowley v Cowley, we hope you can join us, everyone welcome as always. Up the imps.