We often hear about respect in youth football – respect for referees or opponents, but what about respect for team mates? Kids Coach Naomi Richards takes a look.

We all have different things we are good at and so has your child when they play football.

The reason your child is plays in a particular position on the field is because they have a talent in a specific area of the game: defending, attacking, running with the ball, passing etc. They may not be able to play so well in another position. We may need to help them appreciate that just as they are good playing in one position so are their peers and that they need to respect their peers on the pitch during and outside of the game. Do you know if your child has respect for their team mates? Have they ever said to them that they don’t think they played well or have slagged off their performance?

If so, we need to change that. As part of a team all the children need to respect each other’s strengths, weaknesses, the position they play, the decisions they make on the field.

They are playing that position because they are the best person for the job so talk to your child about them resisting having a go and keeping quiet. It is the job of the coach to comment on the performance of individuals, not them.


Your child also needs to understand that everyone has off days too – not everyone plays consistently at the same level. Ask your child if they think they play at the same standard during practices and games? I bet the answer is no.

Part of respect is also about understanding. Whilst their peers are showing up for games and doing their best your child probably does not know what is going on outside of the game for them. Why should they? There is probably very little time to chat.

Talk to your child about the kind of influences that other children have in their life that may be affecting their game.

It may be that a team mate who has not played well has problems at home, has not been sleeping well, they are being bullied or stressed and worried about something else. There are many possibilities as to why their performance was not on par with other games.

Sharing this type of information with your child should hopefully get them to be more sympathetic and understanding, more respectful and they may even ask their team mate if they are okay.

Naomi Richards is The Kids Coach – a life coach for children. Her first book, ‘The Parents Toolkit’, was published this year. To find out more or follow @thekidscoach.

© 2022 ESPZEN. All rights reserved