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Notts FA pilot's new Grassroots football initiative 'Catch You In'

The Nottinghamshire FA Football and Referee Development team over the weekend of 21st and 22nd of January piloted a new Grassroots football…

The initiative invited volunteers from within the football family to come together for training on observing coach and referee practices, recording this through an online form.

The team of football ambassadors visiting host and partner club West Bridgford Colts FC across their three match day venues. The team of ambassadors were observing general behaviour on the touchlines and looking for good practice from the coaches whilst the referee specialists were offering support to the young referees in action.

Tim Jones, Football Development Officer explains more:

"Catch You In is about us at Nottinghamshire FA being more visible within the county. It's about offering support to our referee's and coaches, to help drive the Respect program with parents and supporters, and to improve the match day environment.

"This weekend saw Catch You In ambassadors out in the county, on the lookout for the good things that we know goes on week in week out in local football."

The ambassadors spoke to lots of parents, and promoted the FA's Respect campaign, by handing out our Parents and Supporters flyers, which were well received and pleasing to engage in positive conversations around creating safe learning environments. Alongside the parents dedicated coaches were actively creating the best possible environment for their young players.

Examples of this include;

Mark Hickling from Woodhouse Colts U8's, who involved all of his players in a fun, inclusive warm up, involving lots of ball work, and game related practices.

Ruth Dodge from West Bridgford U8's, who showed great compassion, by speaking to the opposition goalkeeper after the game, and heaping praise on  him for a really good performance, during which he made some great saves.

Gareth Marshall and Chris Navarro from West Bridgford U7's demonstrated great sportsmanship, when, after the opposition lost two players through injury, they leant them a player, and played a 4v4 game. They encouraged their team throughout, demonstrating they clearly enjoy what they do and it isn't all about winning it's taking part that counts.

Adam Major, a Sports coaching student from Nottingham Trent University, has volunteered to help out at Carlton Town Juniors, by running their U7's team. He presented a great attitude towards his young players, encouraging them throughout the whole game. It was the highlight of Adam's day, as he is a Bristol City fan, and went straight to the City Ground with his parents, to watch his team play.

The young referees in action across the venues were also involved in the programme as the referee mentor programme was in attendance offering advice and performance, progression and supporting parents as well.

"To be a key partner in this new initiative is a very important piece in referee jigsaw in the county, until now it has been difficult to recruit and appoint a team of mentors to support our younger officials.

"To work alongside the coaching side of the game will also assist our referee workforce for a more balanced view on development" Marc Birkett, Referee Development Officer states.  

We know that not everything in local football is perfect, and there can be issues at games. However, by witnessing, recognising and celebrating some of the fantastic things that go on within football in Nottinghamshire, we hope to spread the message that football is a great sport, loved by millions around the world and is for everyone to get involved in.

For more information on the 'Catch You In' initiative and how to get involved please keep an eye on our Social Media portals.

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