Umbrellas for Goal Post
December 17, 2010 7 Comments
Big Sam is renowned for taking a dogged approach to the game, his style often described as ‘dirty’ or ‘hit and run’. So would it surprise you that I would call Sam Allardyce innovative? Allardyce has had more ideas than Stuart Baggs, remember when the FA decided to change the offside rule so that you have to effect play to be offside….so Sam put two players on the line from a free kick. And what about his training techniques…according to Michael Owen, he had his Newcastle squad on morning bike rides and pilate’s (quite a contrast from the usual football training regime’s).
Despite being sacked from Blackburn in the week, Big Sam didn’t go down without leaving one of his latest ideas with us…’Youth Football should be played in the Summer!’
Well should it?
I’m sure thousands of young footballers would agree! Grassroots football is completely destroyed by the horrible weather conditions experienced in the winter, especially when we weather extremities like seen over the past few weeks. Some teams go up to a month without playing due to snow logged and frozen pitches, as a result of the cold weather conditions. There are also problems with the hours of daylight experienced in the winter. The evenings are dark and gloomy meaning that to train, artificial pitches or areas with floodlights are required (not always an easy task when there are a limited supply of pitches and a high demand for them). In contrast playing football in the summer months would allow youths to play on any surface well in to the evening.
Ok the fundamentals behind the idea are obvious…more football means that young players play more and consequently are better because of the increase in game time. Right!
Well I think there will be another hidden advantage in playing our football in the summer months…the heat!
Yes heat… With temperatures soaring between 25-30 degrees in the summer months, heat is exactly what summer will bring. Despite dehydrating millions of youngsters, the heat will bring about a slower pace to our game…the style of English football will change forever! Remember the flops who played at the 2010 world cup, they were criticised for their hit and run style and as a country we were slammed for our inability to produce top players.
As mentioned in my blog post ‘Does England Lack Talent?’ Jose Mourinho has said that English players learn to compete but Spanish players learn to play. But could the weather conditions we play in, be the fundamental reason we play the way we do?
Cold weather conditions encourage a physical game played at pace. Physically, athletes can perform better at lower temperatures and as a result it is the athletes that thrive in English youth football. Physical players with a high work rate are able to bully and dominate games.
But by playing the game in the summer months, the warmer climate will automatically slow the game right down, encouraging a more technical approach to the game. Rather than having the athletes dominate the youth ranks, the technically gifted footballers will be given the chance to shine and develop.
Is it any surprise that the nations credited with playing the best football; Spain, Brazil, Argentina… are all hot countries? It makes sense. I have said before, we will never be able to play like the nations mentioned above…but playing our youth football in the summer months could change everything.
You also have to consider where the World Cup is going to be played in future years if you plan to win one. We all know FIFA’s criteria for hosting a world cup. They pick countries where the tournament hasn’t been played before…like South Africa, like Qatar, like…hot climates! If our young players are used to playing in hotter weather conditions their style of football will fit these climates better than our current style.
Saying that playing youth football in the summer months will change our style of football is a massive statement and I am under no illusion that the process will take time. I’m not saying that we will ever be able to play football like Spain or Brazil but we can’t play any worse than we are doing now! The fans are bored with ‘hit and run’ England we want change. We want players who can play football like Iniesta or Messi…and the only way of doing this is playing a different style of football. It’s ironic that it is Big Sam, the master of ‘dirty’ football who could revolutionise our game…but someone needs to.
Have a read of Does England Lack Talent?