Coaching parents a focus for inaugural director of football at Takapuna club
The smallest football club on Auckland's North Shore is committed to tackling one of the sport's biggest problems.
With the appointment of the club's first director of football, Takapuna AFC plans to train parents to be better spectators and to "stop abusing officials", according to club president Wayne Hallford.
In his wide-ranging role, director of football Chris Bryson will be responsible not only for coaching players, but also coaching coaches and parents.
"Coaching parents is a must these days, so that they understand the game more than they currently do," Hallford says.
"Once everyone understands the game, and the new laws that are coming in, I think you'll take a lot of the aggro out of the game.
"There is a lot of abuse going towards officials and, if we don't stop the abuse, we won't have officials. Parents and coaches at times are the worst candidates around football, not so much the players."
Bryson wants parents to be enthusiastic and support their children, but doesn't want them to add pressure for their offspring to win.
"Instead of shouting or over-coaching them, just let their kids make the decisions and long term that is going to be so much better for their football," Bryson says. "We are about fun and development."
Hallford says Bryson's appointment comes after the club identified focussing on youth players as a way forward.
The club has set out an ambitious target of getting to 500 junior members in the next three years.
"If we could improve on quality rather than quantity that would be a good start," Hallford says.
"We want to have the best youth players coming through Takapuna. We realise we won't be able to retain them all once they get to the first team, but we can't be selfish or emotional over that."
Even if players Takapuna has developed through the age-groups are lured away by other clubs to play senior football, Hallford says there won't be any hard feelings. But, with the help of his coaches, he wants to create an environment that keeps players around.
"With what we are trying to achieve with the culture we instil in these players, and the coaching they are going to get on the way through, why would they want to leave Takapuna? Why would they want to leave us as they are getting everything here?"