Last Sunday 8th April Nottinghamshire FA staff and volunteers were out and about in Mansfield and Kirkby-in-Ashfield at two of the four venues used by the Kickstart League.
The Kickstart League are the only league in the county who operate a central venue model, providing football for U7s to U12s at four venues in Mansfield and Ashfield. We took in games involving 16 Under 8s and 16 Under 9s teams at the Queen Elizabeth Academy and the Summit Centre.
The Catch You In team spoke to the Kickstart staff at the venues, who made us really welcome as well as lots of parents, carers, supporters, and some great coaches. So did we catch anybody in? We certainly did!
At the Under 8s games at the Summit Centre some of the great things we saw included;
Market Warsop’s Nathan Adams and David Bush got their players active in their warm up, getting them engaged with the ball including lots of movement and fun activities.
Sam Bacon, Ben Holford and Greg Kent from Selston Youth were great at giving their players encouragement throughout the game.
Both Selston and Market Warsop teams were encouraged to play out from the back, with both keepers regularly rolling the ball out to a team mate. Some great football shown from both teams which reflected their coaches attitudes.
Marc Heath from AS Plant Blades dealt with an upset player on his team by sitting down next to him, talking and encouraging him in a calm and thoughtful manner.
Jake Bradford was a calming influence on the side line for his Blidworth Welfare team and made sure that all of his players got plenty of game time.
Richard Clay got his Beaufort United White’s team ready for their game with a great warm up, his enthusiasm was infectious resulting in lots of laughter throughout from his players.
Scott Hardy and Stuart Grozier are more concerned with the development of their young Mansfield Athletic players than the result of the game, clearly long term player development is really important to them.
Five of our Catch You In team went to watch the games at the QE Academy, where the Under 9s play under the watchful eyes of site administrators Georgia Pritchard and John Mason.
Danny Brickles and Mark Adams coach Blidworth Bengals Orange team. They made sure their goalkeeper got a great warm up, and encouraged their team to play with flair and creativity throughout.
Lee Brandrick-Smith conducted the usual post-match debrief with his players but made sure everyone got involved, including parents and supporters.
Sadly April’s Catch You In was the last of the 2017/18 season. Although, we believe Catch You In has been a great success; despite some appalling weather we have still managed to go out on 6 weekends with a total of 180 hours, watched games involving 128 teams, spoke to hundreds of parents, coaches and supporters.
We know that not everything is perfect in the world of grassroots football all of the time, but it has confirmed that there are some great people involved in the game in our county who give their time up to help thousands of kids play football week in, week out.
During the summer we won’t be resting on our laurels, there are lots of festivals and tournaments taking place across the county. So, keep an eye out for us as we might just be there. If we are, come and say hello!
Nottinghamshire FA would like to thank all our staff, local volunteers and coaches who made the Catch You In visits possible. As well as all the parents, supporters, coaches and other volunteers at the clubs we visited for making us feel welcome at every game.