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Heading ban for Under 11s

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TheRonRaffertyFanClub
February 25, 2020, 11:54am Report to Moderator
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This hasn't received much attention really. It just seems to be accepted that this is the way to go.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-51614088

As far as Under 11s are concerned the ban applies only in training and not in games. This seems to be a bit barmy because it means kids will not learn how to head a ball before they have to head it in a match. I'd have thought that was more dangerous than any risk of concussive injury in training. Either ban it or don't ban it, don't fartarse about with partial bans.

But what is next? No tackling for under 11s or whatever age is arbitrarily decided? So they get to 16 without learning how to get the ball without breaking somebody's leg? And the game for kids ceases to bear any relation to the adult game. It loses what makes it special. OK 5-a-side is fun but it ain't the same as being out on a grass pitch with Ollie yelling at you is it?

So, I don't know. I have mixed feelings. Having run junior sides for many years I cannot think that heading was ever much of a problem. I would guess 90% of under 14s will go through a game without doing it and certainly the beach balls today are a lot less traumatic than the cannonballs with laces we used to use.

A lot of Fishy members must have kids of this age playing in local leagues, what do you feel about it?



"Ah but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Bob Dylan, My Back Pages
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Hameln Mariner
February 25, 2020, 1:44pm Report to Moderator
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I'll reply RRFC,

As a parent of a child who plays in a local league and a recently qualified coach I have an interest in this from both viewpoints.  We don't coach our kids(U9) to head the ball. This isn't done particularly from a health viewpoint simply that we feel it's much more important to get the kids playing with the ball on the deck. It's enough to get average kids to pick this up at a young age, to introduce heading would simply use up limited training time that can be better spent learning ball control skills with their feet. We don't/won't discourage the kids to head the ball during competitive matches but as they have such limited skills to do so at that age it's really not that relevant. You are completely correct about the new balls, they don't get wet and heavy like the old balls did so I'd like to hope that the sad cases such as Matt Tees will not continue into the future but equally so I feel that the FA stance to stop young kids from heading the ball until it can be decisively proved one way or another is probably the right thing to do.

I'd still be interested to hear the viewpoint of anyone else who coaches kids to a higher level - any academy coaches out there with anything to say?
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grimps
February 25, 2020, 3:15pm Report to Moderator
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The Scottish have always been trailblazers when it comes to stuff like this , their international goalkeepers were stopped from using their hands back in the 80s
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TownSNAFU5
February 25, 2020, 3:29pm Report to Moderator
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I heard the report on talkSPORT.  The ban does seem sensible to me.  Given that any disease such as dementia, does not manifest itself for many decades.  When it is too late.

The report said that the ban on heading for certain groups had NOT been extended to matches.  This was because heading in these games was minimal and therefore the risk was considered minimal.
  
(This mirrors the comment above that youngsters are now coached to develop their football skills on the ground).
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Tommy
February 25, 2020, 4:04pm Report to Moderator
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I don't know if people are reading the article and the facts, or just seeing the headlines.

Heading is not banned. It is guidance.
Heading is certainly not banned in matches, in fact there is no change to matches, it is just regarding isolated and repetitive heading practice in training sessions. Even then it is not banned, it's just been limited as per this guidance.

In general, there is very little heading in matches in the foundation phase (u11 and below) anyway, so it really won't impact much on this phase of kids development. I doubt there are many coaches/teams that have kids of that age stood around practicing headers, and as Hameln Mariner says above, there really are more important fundamentals that kids of that age should be spending their time working on.

At the end of the day, without wanting to sound all "health & safety", people's health should always come first, and if this guidance is based on research and evidence of linking excessive heading of the ball to things like dementia, then I really don't understand what the problem is


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TheRonRaffertyFanClub
February 25, 2020, 4:36pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Hameln Mariner
I'll reply RRFC,

As a parent of a child who plays in a local league and a recently qualified coach I have an interest in this from both viewpoints.  We don't coach our kids(U9) to head the ball. This isn't done particularly from a health viewpoint simply that we feel it's much more important to get the kids playing with the ball on the deck. It's enough to get average kids to pick this up at a young age, to introduce heading would simply use up limited training time that can be better spent learning ball control skills with their feet. We don't/won't discourage the kids to head the ball during competitive matches but as they have such limited skills to do so at that age it's really not that relevant. You are completely correct about the new balls, they don't get wet and heavy like the old balls did so I'd like to hope that the sad cases such as Matt Tees will not continue into the future but equally so I feel that the FA stance to stop young kids from heading the ball until it can be decisively proved one way or another is probably the right thing to do.

I'd still be interested to hear the viewpoint of anyone else who coaches kids to a higher level - any academy coaches out there with anything to say?


Agree with all you say there about concentrating on playing the ball on the floor.

The only coaching we would do on heading was a short session of head tennis with a light ball simply so kids realised there was an actual technique to heading that did not involve being driven into the ground like a tent peg or getting a nose bent. In a game situation any player can be called upon to head a ball and therefore should know how best to do it just the same as they should learn how to tackle without someone's leg being broken. So I would disagree with the ban on teaching it unless there is also a ban on doing it in matches. More sensible to look at how it could be taught safely.

Otherwise the guidelines as they move through to Under 18 seem reasonable but I do feel we are quite quickly moving away from football as a physical game to one more akin to athletic chess on a field. If there is a full ban later on, I don't think there is any chance at all of it ever being rescinded in the current H&S climate and if I was a betting person I think it will become a virtually non-contact sport for juniors at least within a few years.



"Ah but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Bob Dylan, My Back Pages
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moosey_club
February 25, 2020, 5:27pm Report to Moderator
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Just use a sponge ball or a 10'bob floater to practice with.... if and when you do practice....to minimise any shock or impact.


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