Zero pressure football

ZERO PRESSURE FOOTBALL: At Football Fun Factory we pride ourselves on having no pressure environments at all of our sessions. This means that every child who attends FFF is under no pressure at all by the coaches, parents or peers. We believe that no child should ever be pressured or feel forced to learn new skills or have to develop to a specific curriculum. We believe that every child should develop at their own pace and especially without pressure. At FFF our sessions are brilliant for all children whether they have never kicked a ball before or even like football. Our fun, caring and exciting environments help all children develop their social, psychological and physical skills at their own speed and all whilst having fun.

I spotted this advert over the weekend and thought how refreshing – an extra curricular children’s club that is all about having fun. No curriculum, no expectation that a certain skill will be grasped or a level attained. No drive to put something on the dreaded cv. Just an opportunity to see if you like football, and even if you are absolutely crap at it, the chance to enjoy yourself running around after a ball in a muddy field.

One of my sons went to a progressive school where anyone who wanted to play on the school soccer team was given the chance to play on the school soccer team, even if they sucked at soccer and the team lost.  My other son, who went to a more competitive neighbouring school which happened to occasionally play the progressive school at football, was very dismissive of this attitude. Why would you not always strive to field the very best team that you have available? he questioned.  Why? Because sometimes life is about more than winning.  It is about enjoying exercise, keeping fit, supporting weaker members of a group and having fun.  If that means your team is always bottom of the league, then so be it.  You have a different agenda –  you are not in the league necessarily to win it, but to enjoy the experience.  As it turned out, the kids that were encouraged to play football even if they were not the most naturally talented, often worked harder and made more progress because they knew that they had to put in extra effort so as not to let anyone down. Their motivation was internal and they did not fall into the trap of coasting along.  In some sports that particular school did very well because the children had a chance to find their own passions and their own levels. Often these were individual sports such as tennis or fencing, because it was the sort of a school where individuals were nurtured rather than being expected to fit into a standard mould.

If only more things in life were like the Football Fun Factory. A Zero Pressure Life where everyone is encouraged to develop at their own pace and along their chosen paths. No levels to reach nor rankings of excellence. Anyone can play on the team  and no one suffers the humiliation of being  always the last to be picked. Just people trying their best and having fun.

What would such a world be like? Perhaps a few people would not attain the excellence that they might have if they had been pushed along a structured programme, but I am guessing that the sum total of human happiness would be increased.  All those that love to play football, sing in a choir, perform ballet or whatever, despite being not very  good, would add to the general feeling of achievement, even if each individual achievement was not spectacular. No more clumsy would-be ballerinas clumping around at the back hidden by their more graceful peers (yes, it still stings after 60 years). Although human nature being what it is, some teams would probably secretly select their best players because the drive to win and “be better” than the others is never far below the surface.

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