• respect

  • parents

  • barriers

As children grow up, they pass through different stages. Children have different needs and behaviours; they do not all develop in the same way. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the specific characteristics and priorities of each of the stages of childhood and adolescence, taking into account physical, physiological and psychological aspects. The parents and coach’s must realise that a young person is not a small adult.

The stages of a child’s growth and development must be taken into account in order to ensure the best possible approach. It is the coach’s responsibility to be aware of these essential points and to apply appropriate responses in individual cases. It is important to consider the physical development of each young player and to distinguish their actual age from their physical age.

Furthermore, some children start to play football later than age 6-8, which is when the majority of children start. That is why it is important for the parents and coach to respect the child’s level and have a positive approach to encourage learning.

Interacting, sharing, playing and meeting others –these are all benefits that we promote at GFA, while, of course, encouraging enjoyment on the pitch. For some, grassroots football is a recreational activity. For others, it is the practice of football in a club or school environment, with regular training and matches, that is important.

Of course not all young players will become the stars of the future and they do not all have the skills required to become professional players. So intensive training sessions and complicated tactics are not appropriate.

It is for these reasons that we always encourage children to play football, whatever their level. Playing improves children’s technique and the intelligence of their game and boosts their enthusiasm. Football also promotes team spirit and fair play. In a nutshell, football is a school of life.


What is Respect?

Respect is the collective responsibility of everyone involved in football, at all levels, to create a fair, safe and enjoyable environment in which the game can take place. It is the behavioural code for football.

Respect is a continuous FA programme, not a one-off initiative.

What do we want to achieve with Respect?
  1. There will be a base of registered referees in England sufficient for the demands of the game at every level.
  2. There will be zero tolerance for assaults on referees.
  3. There will be an improvement in on-field player discipline, particularly in the area of dissent to referees and in competitions that have an established record of poor discipline.
  4. There will be a ‘step change‘in youth football on what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour from parents and spectators.
What does Respect stand for?
  • Referee is in charge
  • Encourage team-mates
  • Shout, but don’t criticise
  • Play fairly
  • Enjoy the game
  • Captain only speaks to the referee
  • Try, whatever the score


FA Respect – Parents Guide Scene 1 from GFA

FA Respect – Parents Guide Scene 2 from GFA

FA respect – Parents Guide – Scene 3 from GFA

Ray Winstone Calls For Respect from GFA


One Voice Coaching

Only the coach should coach and the coach’s voice is the one that stands out. By all means parents should encourage and support the team but to not give instructions to the players from the sidelines. The reason is because conflicting instructions confuses the children and puts them under pressure to decide who to please, the parent or the coach?

Follow the Respect Campaign

On match days all parents must:

  • Remain outside the field of play behind the Designated Spectator Area (respect barrier).
  • Never engage in, or tolerate offensive, insulting or abusive language or behaviour. You must inform the team manger and club welfare officer of such events.
  • Praise and applaud good play from both teams and also for their efforts.
  • Children play for FUN, its the children’s game not the adults.
  • Don’t confuse players by telling them what to do hence ‘One Voice Coaching’
  • Encourage the players to respect the opposition and match officials
  • Never criticise a child when making a mistake, mistakes are part of learning

On Time & Ready to Play

For training sessions & match days it’s important that your child arrives on time & ready to play. This way your child does not miss out on team preparation, they know the plan for the day and they have the appropriate clothing, shin pads and footwear.

Water/Drinks Breaks

Every child at all times when playing football needs water or a drink to prevent becoming dehydrated. Remember children are a bundle of energy and they need regular drink breaks.