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The Return of Grassroots Sport - Preparing our Kids

grassroots football in 2021
The latest lockdown has been hard on England as a whole but what about our younger generation? Leading mental health charity
Mind reported young people are more likely to have experienced poor mental health during lockdown than adults. In this article we look at how the latest lockdown has affected children but more specifically those who are involved with grassroots sports and how we can help them to adapt as lockdown restrictions ease in the coming months. 

Grassroots sport - the benefits

With the closure of businesses, hospitality and retail, continued working from home strategies and tougher restrictions on socialising and outdoors exercise, the country's morale has hit an all-time low, at one of the toughest times of the year. Often, adults are juggling high job demands or the worry of unemployment along with the added pressure of homeschooling and keeping the children entertained but what about our children’s mental wellbeing?

According to children’s charity Barnardo's 36% of parents reported time outside in the fresh air away from the home helped their child cope better during the lockdown. We all know physical exercise can help us feel better and more energised and grassroots sport is a fun way for children to be active. It can also help children grow in other ways, such as:

  • learning new skills
  • being part of a team
  • learning to work with coaches
  • learning the value of practice
  • enjoying competition

 

Do you know the national sport of England? Most people guess wrong! Find out here >>

Returning to grassroots sport

The Prime Minister recently confirmed children and young people will be able to take part in sport and activity at school as part of educational provision from 8th March. From 29th March outdoor grassroots sport for adults and children will restart, subject to guidance.

Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of Sport England has said "The Prime Minister's roadmap for the return of sport and physical activity is very welcome and a clear recognition of how important it is to the nation's physical and mental health".

Watch Laceeze’s video Don’t Stop the Game

Whilst the news is very welcome among parents with children in grassroots sports clubs, there are many who are worried about the impact the lockdown has had on their children and their physical and mental wellbeing. Many children are worried their sporting abilities have diminished during recent months. With social media and online videos being readily available, the comparison trap is already creeping in on our younger generation. Videos of children fortunate enough to have had private tuition during lockdown or football stadium-sized gardens to practice in are, unfortunately, increasing the expectations for children to perform at a pre-lockdown level, or better.

returning to grassroots football 2021

 

Spotlight on grassroots football

 

There is discussion about whether the football season will be cancelled this year or if it will go ahead as normal. Parents airing on the side of caution for example, believe that this year should be focused on friendly matches and getting children back into the game with safe training schedules. On the other end of the spectrum, some parents feel that a speedy catch-up approach with an increased number of training sessions per week be instilled. With this option, there is the worry of increased injury and pressure on children already returning late to the academic school year.

There is currently no guidance as to which way grassroots football clubs will go but what can parents do in the interim to reassure children that returning to sport will be fun and their training can and will get back on track?

Laceeze spoke with Jamie Wise, head of New Forest Football Academy, to find out his top tips for children returning to grassroots football next month. Here’s what he suggested:

 

There are 4 main areas I have been working on with NFFA players over the last 2 months, which I believe will put them in a great position for when we return to grassroots football training.

 

1) Mindset - Having an effective mindset helps footballers train with more focus, play with more confidence, and reflect more effectively after a match. This helps them maintain their motivation, resilience, emotional control and overall well-being. Try using sportsmanship videos and fun games to help motivate and engage your child before restarting at their sports club. Grassroots Football GRF has a library of great resources to help parents and children.

2) Speed, Agility & Quickness (SAQ) - The physical element of the players game will have been hugely affected from the lack of playing time, therefore working on their footwork, coordination, changes of speed and direction will help them massively when returning to opposed practices.

See how our Laceeze Train at Home sets can help children get back into shape at home.

3) Aerial Control - This is a fantastic form of practice at home, practicing manipulating the ball while it is in the air. These practices will encourage players to use different parts of their body to control the ball, while it arrives at different heights. Practice challenges can vary from Keepy Uppy routines, different movement patterns and different styles of flick ups.

4) Ball Mastery - this is the practice of technical routines such as beat the man moves, turns and ball manipulations, allowing the player to get hundreds of touches of the ball using different surfaces of their feet. Not only will this allow players to perform comfortably in tight areas, it will also improve their confidence and creativity on the ball.

New Forest Football Academy

We know that children and adults alike are keen to get back to sports clubs and training and we hope that the tips and advice provided in this article may ease your return. In the meantime, lockdown regulations remain in place and you can find out more about these on the Sport England website.

laceeze don't stop the game

 

Who are Laceeze?

After many years spent watching and coaching youth football and talking with parents and other coaches, it became apparent that many of us suffered the frustration of lace failure one too many times! 

The solution had been staring us in the face however our lightbulb moment came on a cold October evening in 2016 when an 8 year-old boy had a rubber band placed over his boot to stop his laces coming undone.

After a great deal of research we put a prototype through stringent testing in May 2017 and launched our bands to the world. Laceeze are the most simple of concepts but some of the best ideas are indeed the simplest ones. And more importantly; the bands really work!

 In July 2020 we learnt that our product had achieved Patent.

 Our strapline #dontstopthegame which speaks for itself, allows for more dedicated focus, drills and time on the actual ball.

Explore the range for yourself today and see how Laceeze can up-level your child’s football game. Follow Laceeze on Instagram or Facebook to stay up-to-date on all things grassroots football and be the first to hear about exciting giveaways! Remember: don’t stop the game!

 

This article touched upon the affect of lockdown and children’s mental health but look out for our next blog that tackles the wider issue of mental health in sport.