The shout was ‘Let them play’ at East Renfrewshire Soccer Development Association (ERSDA) as all the coaches became very QUIET over the weekend.

As part of the Positive Coaching Scotland initiative, and in partnership with the Scottish FA, coaches and parents at under 8 games within ERSDA were asked to let the young players play the game without being "over-coached" from the side lines.

ERSDA president Chris Quinn explained: “Sometimes during games young players are quite clearly confused by coaches giving running commentaries on what to do.  All too often I’ve seen this cause a player to look up at his coach and miss a ball that has gone flying by, only for the youngster to get even more abuse from the coach for not watching and letting the ball go past him!

"The concept we are promoting allows the player the opportunity to play and enjoy the game without being over-coached during it and then developed in a positive way following it.

"I absolutely adored football but gave up playing at the age of 15 mainly due to the fact that I couldn’t understand why, when I went out and tried my hardest for the team, I was shouted and bawled at by an adult during and afterwards – I didn’t get the culture then and I don’t get it now. It took me seven years before I started playing again and hopefully we can prevent youngsters falling out of sport in their teenage years.”

The Positive Coaching Scotland initiative is part of the Winning Scotland Foundation programme, which is endorsed by the Scottish FA, and is looking to help change the coaching behaviour of people involved in the sport.

Tommy Boyle from the Foundation explains: "In Scotland we have a very fixed mindset based around a scoreboard mentality; whereby we are only interested in the final result as opposed to the development of the player or the team.

"Yes winning is important, but how a young player is developed and is taught the skills to reach their full potential is far more important. Many young people drop out of sport becasue they no longer enjoy taking part. This is something we have to reverse if we are to have a healthier nation."

Over the past two years, the Positive Coaching Scotland initiative has been delivering workshops to the coaches, parents and club leaders of the clubs and schools involved in ERSDA.  Over 200 coaches and over 1000 parents from within the ERSDA set up have attended workshops.
Chris Quinn added: "At first some people were sceptical of the programme, but all of the coaches have now embraced the concept and it seems to be working very well.

"As a league association we are dealing with more match day feedback than ever. In my view this illustrates that there are still issues out there but the programme is giving people the knowledge and confidence to raise and prevent these issues recurring in the future. This is how long term change will be achieved for the benefit of the children who participate in our games.”