The appointment of Mark Holt as Head Coach for the Senior Teams is an exciting one for Franklin United. Here is the statement I made in the club release last week; “Over the last year we have recognised the need to keep aligning our senior team activities, philosophies, culture with our academy operations and when he has been in NZ, Mark has contributed heavily to the academy. We see the appointment of Mark to our senior team as a great fit and an opportunity to progress forward with the culture change and development work started with Tracy. Mark has the necessary skills and structure to keep developing our local talent and we have some good young players looking to come of age whom are really looking forward to working with Mark.”
As the club Franklin United continues to develop, we keep asking ourselves “What is it that we need in Franklin to assist with football development in our community?” In my opinion it boils down to two things. My message has always been consistent around coaching and one of the reasons why we have moved to appoint Mark. Now we have x2 full time coaches. So, this doubles our ability to have experienced and qualified coaches on the grass in our region. Mark also gives us the extra ability to align the seniors with the academy operations, so we continue to strengthen the pathways in the talent space.
It gives us more opportunity to learn more about our community and scout players that deserve a chance. The Franklin United youth academy must serve to provide all players in the area with a footballing pathway, not just those that that belong to families that can afford the fees. Income though remains critical to the sustainability of the initiative. We are still working towards 100% alignment across all football clubs in our area E.g asking member clubs to stop putting vital funds into third party coaching clinics based outside of Franklin. As all clubs continue to strengthen its relationships, we can counteract some of our misalignment by continuing to drive our sponsorship and funding opportunities. We have a newly formed sponsorship committee which is “mainly” made up of parents who feel they can contribute. It’s great stuff!!
More coaches give us the ability to be part of the coaching development at grass roots. We can support and mentor others to provide environments that keeps kids coming back.
The second item is our message on development over results. It is still short of its mark. As part of the term 4 offering we get our academy teams to mix with member club activities such as 5–a-side football. We use opportunities to give our players challenges each week to aid their progression, such as each player must touch the ball before we shoot on goal, or you can only score with your left foot. It still amazes me the amount of parents who are looking for results in age groups 9 – 12 each week rather than look for other stable components such as fun!!. The kids in all teams seem to really enjoy the fun and camaraderie of the well run matches - it is the parents that seem to worry about who won or not. Even to the detail of which team won on corners after a 0-0 draw. I saw a junior tournament this year, between 9s and 10s, decided on a penalty shootout when surely a shared reward was the best outcome, rather than have a winner and a loser after getting to a final. But it requires different thinking, and why let results get in the way of development at such a young age. Why have competition tables at these age groups? What does it matter if a team comes top or a team comes bottom? Put a table up each week and this is what will naturally happen.
Whether my opinion is right or if it is wrong – there is still plenty of opportunities coming our way in 2020 in terms of Franklin football.