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Should youth football promote a winning mentality in junior footballers?

The British spirit is one of the strongest assists of the British people.  As a nation the British are proud and rightly so! The achievements of the British people cannot be denied by anyone.

I have often heard it said that at youth level of football it’s wrong to foster a winning mentality. What I say is this - anyone that thinks that fostering a winning mentality is wrong at youth level is simply failing to comprehend what any sporting endeavour is all about. One of the greatest assets in the game of football today is the winning mentality. It is this winning mentality that has in fact shored up what’s really wrong with the game here.
High profile clubs
What is in fact wrong with the game here has nothing to do with the winning mentality. What happens here all too often that causes all sorts of problems in the game later is the support for high profile teams that are built on nothing more than the wrong selection of player’s criteria that ends up with players in the game with the wrong playing attributes.

Players at a young age are often selected for strength and brawn and this will often win games at a junior level, but as players get older these attributes become less significant on a game whilst their technical skills haven’t been improved or appreciated.

Often the development of the young player ends up with a working formula that is then based on the forward moving game and its implications that are only found out to be flawed at the international levels of the game where the winning formula is in fact based on the first ball game and its implications.

The selection of players in most football countries now is in fact based on skill options on the ball that are alien to the effects of the selection process that in effect ends up in the reality of the second ball game. Don’t cover up the failures of the game with ill thought out notions of a winning mentality.

The winning mentality is what saves football at the present time, what is wrong is the manipulation of the football game to promote the wrong selection criteria that then is shored up by playing the game to the long ball that in effect creates the second ball game with its needs which are then sadly often based on the physical player rather than the skilful player.

I wish that everyone had the winning mentality of the British. If the game was to select for talent and nurture that talent to the first ball game reality here then it is the British with their winning mentality that would in effect win the World Cup, of that I have no doubt.
Do you coach a junior team?  Let us know what you think of Martin's views by leaving a comment below.

Martin Bidzinski is the author of football coaching books The Soccer Coaching Handbook, Smart First Touches and Soccer Training: Developing the 360° Player.  For more information click on Martin's books click here.

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