Updated: Jul 23, 2019
Coaches complain about kids being more engaged in video games than in sports, but they're not sure why. "Kids just aren't the same as they used to be" I remember when I was a kid...
I think that "I remember when I was a kid" is a very good place to start.
When you were a kid, and you went out to play, did you have to wait for someone to tell you what / how / where to do it? I didn't. We all met at our favorite place and whoever was there played whatever the census of day was. Straight game, heads and volleys, Wembley (Cuppies / World Cup).
Fortnite - Turn it on, log in / load. Pick your game mode, wait for it to load and away you go. I went from switching on the console to gliding into the game in 1 minute and 27 seconds.
1 - You can play with friends, or alone / with strangers, fearlessly.
2 - You can play right away.
3 - No one is telling you what to do.
4 - Rules are conditional, per the group.
Now compare your practice to that list.
1 - Is there a cohesion to encourage your players to be fearless? Or even a cohesive group of strangers confident around each other enough to play a game.
2 - Is the environment set for them to play right away? Can they set up mini goals to play, or is there space for them to play their own game before you are there / whilst you are setting up? Dare they grab gear to get started? Do they even have their own ball to set themselves up or are they always waiting on you to open the ball bag?
3 - Can you encourage them to set up and play without telling them what do? Show them examples / suggestions? What games do you know, and love(d) that are timeless?
4 - Can you let them argue it out and determine who is in goal / how many bounces / how many goals?
How do I do this?
Initial free time - Get there early and start playing whatever game you want. I'll let it run into the practice for sure.
A - Game situations. For example, 4v4 and play. Within that framework there are expectations. As a team, WE have agreed on a model of play (yes WE - I offered options, alternatives, and my reasons. The players worked together and we shaped our season) so that every practice has the same underpinning expectations. A simple 4v4 game can be made complex with coaching and challenges to players.
Example - score after intercepting a pass = 2 goals. The team that wins the game has an overload in the game, or is the one that is able to start with possession etc.
Give it a go. Compare yourself to Fortnite and prove the kids can have a great time doing both!