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The following is a question often heard: –

How should I deal with this disruptive player?

“I run an U8 boys’ team. We have been set up for four months and started our season three weeks ago.

“I have one particular player who, since he joined, has been nothing but a disturbance. He cries whenever he gets tackled (in training), he argues with his own players about their ability (he is not the best player himself), doesn’t seem interested and is generally a bad influence on the team.

“Every week I tell my players to respect one another and the game, and try to instill a good atmosphere but it seems to be failing when it comes to this one player.

“Any suggestions?

“PS. I have made sure he wants to play football!”

Suggested response: –

You need to talk to the parents of this player. Tell them what effect he is having on the team and explain that it is not fair on the rest of the players if this child carries on the way he is doing.

At his age, football players should be able to understand they are part of a team (no arguing with each other), give 100% effort at all times and be brave (no needless crying).

Tell the boy’s parents that you want to teach football skills to their child but they need to help you by telling their child his behaviour needs to improve.

If you don’t notice an improvement in say, four weeks, you must tell this child’s parents that he will have to find another club to play for. It’s as simple as that.

This might sound a bit harsh (especially coming from someone who is supposed to put the child at the centre of everything he does) but it is necessary.

If you do nothing, this child will spoil football for the rest of your players and some may even decide to stop playing as a result.

So bite the bullet, put your diplomatic head on, and take this boy’s parents to one side after your next training session!

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