Let Them Play Weekend – March 14th & 15th 2009

Imagine the scene now, it is a Saturday or Sunday at the local football park in your area and the touchlines are full of spectators but the air is silent, coaches are able to talk to their players and players talked to their teammates, but there was almost no interaction between the players and those on the sidelines.

Are we dreaming? This is certainly not a common reality on the sidelines at Scottish grassroots football games and Scotland faces a number of challenging social issues which are now overflowing into youth football such as;

• Continual shouting and instruction from the sidelines
• Violence on the touchline
• ‘win at all costs’ mentality
• Many children, coaches and parents having negative experiences of youth football

As well as several other issues, together, these factors contribute to increasing numbers of young players, parents and coaches having bad experiences. Many drop out or leave as a result and are deprived of their opportunity to learn those vital character building lessons which football can provide.

To address these issues all the children and youth football associations in the South East Region have teamed up in partnership with the Scottish FA and the Positive Coaching Scotland organisation to launch a unique, innovative and exciting new cultural change programme that aims to raise the awareness of these problems and begin to put in measures to support clubs to address these issues.

The Touchline Behaviour Campaign will work on two levels;

1. Information and Support packs will be provided to clubs to help them address the issues that are seen too frequently on the touchline
2. The Partnership will launch a ‘Let Them Play’ Weekend on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March 2009 which will only permit ‘positive’ comments or instructions from the touchlines at games that weekend.

The campaign will target both coaches and spectators and guidelines and supporting information are provided within the booklet attached below.

Ultimately, the aim of this project is to equip all those involved in football with an alternative way of thinking that makes them stop and think about their influence on any young player’s life. You can play a part in transforming Scotland’s current win at all costs mentality, where results and comparisons with others are the key focus. This means that when children do not succeed in winning they have a negative experience, drop out and are denied the opportunity to learn vital life lessons through football.

By creating a positive, youth football environment, we must focus on the encouragement of effort, learning and improved performance and create a new definition of a ‘winner’. This can only be achieved if we adults change our mentality and recognize that winning is success achieved through effort. We want all young players to be given the chance to ‘be the best they can be’.