The First Silent Support Weekend was piloted across Junior Grassroots Leagues across England in November 2022.
The Silent Support Weekend will return this weekend (February 25-26), giving another opportunity for the players to do the talking, with parents and supporters showing their support from the side-lines through applause only.
The first national pilot aimed to allow youth players to explore their own game, find their voice and take control of the game.
For this second weekend on the 25-26 February 2023 we want to hear from our youth players and find out how to make the game better for them so they can improve as players and a team.
We received feedback from over 3000 people who participated last time around, and we’ve taken that on board to tailor this second Silent Support Weekend. This time around the coaches will be permitted to coach throughout the match, with parents and supporters showing their backing from the side-lines through applause only.
This allows the players to not only step up but feel they can get support from their coach if they need too.
Following the first Silent Support Weekend with clubs and leagues across England, below are some of the reactions from the young players:
“It was good as we got to make the decisions not our coach, not our parents, just the team.” - U12s player
“I think as a team we don’t really talk enough. We got a bit better in the second half but it’s something I think we need to work on.” - U15s player
“I play better, when nobody shouts at me.” - U9s player
“It can get confusing when lots of people are telling you what to do.” - U14s player
However, they did miss the support and guidance from their coach.
Overall, the benefits on player development are clear, it helps them to talk between players and support their teammates. Less outside influence gave them more independence and the chance to practice key skills without instruction. It allows the players to identify areas for development and explore new tactics on the pitch, which all supports their own development of critical thinking and their playing journey.