Last weekend a number of clubs took part in the first 'Silent Weekend' initiative in conjunction with the East Cornwall Youth Football League. The aim of the 'Silent Weekend', for one weekend only, was to encourage managers and spectators from giving out any instructions to the young players and to allow them to have freedom to play football how they wanted and to express themselves. The initiative might have encouraged a player to become a leader in a team and to find his or her voice, to let the players work together as a team without relying on their coach and to play football without feeling any pressure from their parents.
As this was the first time teams in Cornwall took part in this pilot, many team managers and spectators were understandably apprehensive about participating and the effect this would have, however they were brave and supportive and gave the event a go!
Cornwall FA along with the East Cornwall Youth Football League will be sending out a questionnaire to all the clubs/teams which took part in this initiative to obtain feedback from the managers. We have received some comments already which have been mixed, as some spectators found the 'not cheering' extremely difficult and some of the players missed the vocal and supportive encouragement from the side-lines. Many coaches have commented that if they were able to give out positive instructions to the players during the game then it would have been more beneficial to the players. By contrast several coaches also noticed that players were communicating with each other better without any outside interference.
Many players enjoyed not having spectators shout at them from the touchline allied with having the opportunity to play football without feeling any pressure, which in itself has had a positive impact on the players and on everyone involved in youth football.
Jim Hilton, Chairman of the East Cornwall Youth Football League said "I would like to thank and congratulate every manager, spectator and player from the Clubs which took part in the first Silent Weekend held in Cornwall. The East Cornwall Youth Football League will always try to support any new scheme or project which may benefit youth football in the County and which has the potential to make things better for our young footballers. We will review the responses from everyone who participated and trust that some new and positive elements will result from our findings."
Cornwall FA would like to say thank you to the committee members of the East Cornwall Youth Football League for taking this initiative forward to its member clubs and thank you to all the managers, spectators and especially the players for taking part and giving the Silent Weekend a go.