"Losing 13-0 as a player makes you feel rubbish and puts the pressure on you in many ways. You want to win the next game badly... so people don't start to mock you."
A 10-year-old player
Matches that finish 17-0, 15-1 or even 25-0 (I've seen all those scores in my local leagues) are demoralising for the losing team and do nothing for the development of the players on the winning team.
In an attempt to stop winning margins that are more appropriate to cricket or basketball than football, some leagues have implemented a "mercy rule" and limit the number of goals that can be scored. When one team gets eight goals ahead, for example, the match is declared over and any remaining time is played out as a friendly.
Some coaches are against this. They argue that football is all about winning and losing and we should not seek to protect young players from the harsher realities of life.
Other coaches understand that youth football is about learning and enjoyment more than winning, and regardless of whether a mercy rule exists or not, they make sure their team does not score more goals than is necessary to win the game.
How to manage mismatches
1. If you're winning
Keeping your players motivated is not very difficult if you are one of the fortunate coaches whose team wins most of its games.
But scoring goals virtually at will is:
a) Unfair on your opponents.
b) Not going to aid the development of your players.
What you can do
It's almost unheard of for a team to come back and win a game after being five or six goals down (although I am prepared to be corrected!) so if your team is winning by that sort of margin, it is going to win the match.
Instead of allowing your players to continue banging the ball into the back of the net you could:
- Discreetly impose a two or three-touch rule or require a minimum number of passes before shooting.
- Move your players around - your goalkeeper will be getting bored by now so get her out of goal and put her up front. Move your defenders into attacking positions and put your strikers into defence.
- Use your subs - this type of match is an ideal opportunity to give your subs as much playing time as possible. So why not take off your "star players" and give your weaker players a chance to enjoy themselves?
- Implement the "mercy rule" as described above.
Whatever you decide to do, it is imperative that you respect the opposition and always keep the FA's Code of Conduct in mind:
"Place the well-being, safety and enjoyment of each player above everything, including winning"
2. If you're losing
Motivating a team that is getting hammered most weeks is a tough challenge but it can be done.
Regardless of the age of your players, you can minimise the importance of the final score by setting your players individual and/or team objectives either before the game or even during the game if it becomes clear they are going to lose by several goals.
The actual objectives will depend on the age and ability of your players but as an example:
- Defenders can be tasked with blocking one shot on goal.
- Any player can be set the objective of taking a throw-in with both feet on the ground or making a good pass to a team mate.
- Attackers could be asked to try to make two shots on your opponent's goal.
- The team can be set the objective of conceding fewer goals in the second half or conceding no goals for a set period of time.
It's important to make the objectives slightly stretching but achievable. Praise your players for trying to achieve their objectives (not just for succeeding) and change objectives from one game to the next as your player's skills change.
Share this ...
Player Injury Guide
Wed 25th Sep @ 17:20:24 (605 Views)
Famous People Who Have Played In This League
Thu 7th Apr @ 22:40:39 (4848 Views)
Finding League Invoices & Fines
Sat 5th Mar @ 09:47:44 (2263 Views)
Sun 10th Jan @ 20:35:30 (6011 Views)
FA Guide To Club Administration
Wed 30th Dec @ 15:11:16 (2470 Views)
The FA Guide to Pitch and Goalpost Dimensions
Wed 30th Dec @ 15:01:53 (2949 Views)
Respect Marking Criteria
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:31:12 (2258 Views)
Football Scouts - Guidance for Grassroots Football
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:30:18 (2698 Views)
Kick Off Times
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:28:32 (2462 Views)
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:27:33 (2157 Views)
Registration / Transfer Deadlines
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:25:47 (2771 Views)
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:25:05 (1681 Views)
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:23:23 (1720 Views)
Other Leagues and competitions
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:22:41 (2038 Views)
Guide to the Match Day Process/Match Report Forms
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:22:06 (2582 Views)
Collecting Old Kit
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:15:48 (1950 Views)
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:15:04 (2058 Views)
League Referee Registration Form and Process
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:13:28 (2213 Views)
Guide To Marking Referees
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:11:23 (2049 Views)
Match Sheets Guide to Full Time
Wed 2nd Dec @ 20:06:01 (3187 Views)
New managers Presentation
Wed 2nd Dec @ 19:59:47 (2264 Views)
Reminders regarding arranging & postponed fixtures
Wed 2nd Dec @ 19:58:31 (2227 Views)
How Do I De-Register A Player?
Wed 2nd Dec @ 19:55:58 (2217 Views)
Wed 2nd Dec @ 19:55:07 (2090 Views)
Cancelled / Postponed Fixtures
Tue 1st Dec @ 22:28:05 (3833 Views)
Postponing Games less than 27 days in advance
Tue 1st Dec @ 22:24:28 (3311 Views)
Request a League Observer to Attend a Fixture
Tue 1st Dec @ 22:22:14 (2113 Views)
Why ID Card need to be checked
Tue 1st Dec @ 22:20:55 (2060 Views)
Frequently Asked Questions
Tue 1st Dec @ 22:18:57 (2390 Views)
Tue 1st Dec @ 22:18:01 (1891 Views)
Postponing Games more then 28 days in advance
Tue 1st Dec @ 22:16:51 (2100 Views)
Match Day Behavior & Referee Performance
Tue 1st Dec @ 22:14:39 (1927 Views)