As part of our discipline spotlight month this July, we visited Milnrow Juniors to find out how they maintain their high discipline standards in the grassroots game.
Based in Rochdale, the club hold one of the best discipline records across our grassroots clubs in recent times. Our visit was part of this month’s discipline focus that is showcasing the hard work that goes into monitoring discipline and up keeping the laws of the game in order to support a positive playing environment for all players, whilst also celebrating the continual progress being made in the area.
Club Secretary Louise Paterson believes creating that positive playing environment at Milnrow Juniors is a key factor to their good discipline records.
“We’ve got lots of kids ageing from four years’ old, all the way up to 15 and in that you’ve got lots of different personalities and behaviours. But I think it all comes together because it’s fun – all the kids enjoy themselves and they’re all making great friends.”
Having a varied age range can potentially make good discipline a challenge but again, a fun and a happy environment is key to overcoming those challenges, insists Coach Sa ib Connor.
“We try to keep things simple for the appropriate age and they [the players] know that if they have any issues, they have people that they can speak to. [They know that] they’re here to have fun more than anything else.”
Creating that positive environment can often come from the coaches at a club, and as Milnrow Juniors Coach Chris Robinson told us, it’s also important for fellow coaches to help each other to create that atmosphere for the players.
“It’s about education from the start and for other coaches too. If you see another coach doing it wrong, maybe just have a word with them and try and help them because without education, they don’t know.”
Club Chairman Kevin Dunkerley also talked about coach-to-coach education being important to having a strong discipline record.
“We try to educate all of our coaches first of all. We’re a very close team, ethics are very important to us. We always talk to our coaches and make sure they are always encouraging a positive environment. They know as well that they’re very well supported by the Club – basically, everybody is on the same page.”
There were plenty of smiles on show from the Milnrow Juniors’ players during the various sessions on the evening along with some great football too! Kevin had some key advice to fellow clubs on how to create a similar environment through good discipline.
“Everything with your club badge on is your responsibility. If everybody is together, you can create a massive difference.”
For more on our recent visit to Milnrow Juniors, check out the hashtag #MCRulesAndRegs, where you can stay up to date with everything regarding our discipline spotlight month, this July.