As many of you will remember, The FA held the first national pilot of the Silent Support Weekend last November, with the goal of giving youth players the freedom to explore their own game and find their voice.
It was deemed to be a huge success, with over 3000 people participating and providing valuable feedback. Having taken that feedback on board they have just announced that they will be holding another Silent Support Weekend on 25-26th February 2023.
During the weekend, parents and supporters will show their support from the sidelines through applause only. This is to try and create a unique environment to allow players to step up and take control of the game without the pressure of outside voices.
Reviewing the feedback they had from young players, the FA said it was overwhelmingly positive. One U12s player said, "It was good as we got to make the decisions, not our coach, not our parents, just the team." Another U15s player said, "I think as a team we don't really talk enough. We got a bit better in the second half, but it's something I think we need to work on." These comments highlight the importance of allowing youth players to communicate and collaborate with their teammates.
However, some players did miss the support and guidance from their coach, which is something The FA have taken into consideration for this next Silent Support Weekend, and this time coaches will be permitted to coach throughout the match, giving players the opportunity to receive support and guidance if they need it.
Overall, it was felt that the benefits of player development were clear. The Silent Support Weekend allowed players to identify areas for development and explore new tactics on the pitch, supporting their own development of critical thinking and their playing journey.
We look forward to taking part with our own teams and seeing the impact of this next Silent Support Weekend, and continue to play our part in helping to improve the youth sports experience for all children.
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