Importance of Grassroots Development in Football
Grassroots football always encourages new players to improve their football skills whilst having fun. It helps to develop the local talent and confidence of players, regardless of where each player is from. It also helps to promote diversity and reduces the likelihood of discrimination, sexism, and racism. Along with technical skills, grassroots football can teach players - young and old - about the importance of friendship, camaraderie, and teamwork. Even adults leading the grassroots football program get a chance to develop their coaching, fundraising, and researching skills.
As part of our Online Education Programme, we recently conducted a webinar to help our athletes and coaches learn about the importance of grassroots development in football. The session, carried out by Gerard Nus, Head Coach, NorthEast United, covered various aspects of the grassroots development programme.
Gerard began by defining grassroots football and its related factors which are summarized below:
- Grassroots football means all football which is non-professional and non-elite
- It encourages mass participation
- Stimulates greater interest in the game
- Provides more opportunities for social inclusion
- Supports healthy lifestyle
- Helps in the development of young players
He then explained the fundamentals of grassroots football:
- Everybody has the opportunity to play
- Football is everywhere
- There is no discrimination
- Action must be dynamic, simple, exciting and rewarding
- Safety is priority
- Players come first
- Fair play must be respected
- Relationships, teamwork, and skill development are the key components
The many factors that affect grassroots football were then explained in detail by Gerard. Here’re the points that he covered:
1) Talent Development
- Importance of regular playing time for kids and competitions like RFYS
- Need for young athletes to be competitive at all levels whether it is a competition or just a leisure activity
3) Role of Community
- Importance of communal involvement in sports and building a sports culture
4) Regional Play
- Differences in regional grassroots infrastructure and its effect on youth development
The below chart will help you understand the priorities, values, and vision of grassroots football better.
Gerard also explained the role of an instructor in grassroots football and his/her importance. He used the following chart to explain it:
Gerard concluded the webinar by detailing out the duties and responsibilities of an instructor through the chart below:
In the end, it can be said that though we can’t all be a future sports star, there is no doubt that sports help channelise energies and interest of the youth in a positive way and is greatly beneficial for the society. Investment in grassroots development is an investment in the future of the whole community, and for our country to be recognized as a sporting nation on the global map, it’s essential to develop at the grassroots level.
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