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Simply the Best: 500 Football Tips for Youngsters

Simply the Best: 500 Football Tips for Youngsters

by Paul Bielby, Sir Alex Ferguson (Foreword by)

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Former Manchester United player and UEFA licenced coach Paul Bielby MBE lets you in on the secrets of the game and shows you how to get the most out of football—whatever level you aspire to. From information on skill acquisition to match day advice and tips for developing the right football mentality, this book is packed with everything you need to maximize


Former Manchester United player and UEFA licenced coach Paul Bielby MBE lets you in on the secrets of the game and shows you how to get the most out of football—whatever level you aspire to. From information on skill acquisition to match day advice and tips for developing the right football mentality, this book is packed with everything you need to maximize your enjoyment of the Beautiful Game.

Product Details

John Blake Publishing, Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Simply the Best

500 Football Tips for Youngsters

By Paul Bielby

John Blake Publishing Ltd

Copyright © 2011 Paul Bielby
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-84358-602-9


What Children Want

* * *

1. They want love and support from their parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and family. Lets face it, isn't that what we all crave for at any age – somebody to love and somebody to share our good times and those times when the unexpected happens totally out of the blue?

2. They want to be listened to by their parents. Children do not just want to receive gifts and presents and then be left to play with them alone; they want to play, talk, smile and laugh with parents and enjoy their hobbies and pastimes. They want to tell their parents about the good things that are happening in their day.

3. They want to have their own friends to play with. Children love to enjoy the company of children their own age and share their interests and hobbies. They want to feel part of a team which they are at home with their parents and brothers and sister, they are at school with their schoolmates and teachers and they will be in future years when they start to play team sports.

4. They want to have a comfortable home life, with their own room, or to share with their brother.

5. They want to receive praise and compliments which will boost their confidence and self esteem. We know as adults that daily events in our lives can either really boost our confidence and happiness, or send our emotions the other way. To receive even the simplest compliment, pat on the back or thank you can do wonders and children will respond to this boost in a very positive way.

6. They want to be active, take part in activities and enjoy being part of a team. Children have tremendous energy and enthusiasm when they are fully engrossed in an activity that motivates them. When they share this activity within a team environment they learn that hard work, thought and teamwork is vital if they are going to be the best or win the event.

While we welcome Child Protection and Health and Safety rules I believe that we have become a society that is wary of taking part in sporting activities. Previous childhood pastimes like playing outside have been replaced by children staying in and playing with computer games. Our children are being restricted and mollycoddled and it is not good for them. For me, all the fun of being a child was in being outside and doing the physical stuff like playing football, playing hide-and-seek and climbing trees. We are so much more reserved and cautious now.

7. They want to feel fit and healthy. Seeing the joy and vitality of children running, jumping and enjoying life with their parents or pals is one of life's great pleasures and to adult it brings back memories of times when they were having similar fun at a similar age.

8. They want to enjoy their food – with the occasional treat. At a time when supermarkets are giving ever more space to ready meals, burgers, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, sweets, ice creams and sugar-filled drinks it is important that you give your children food they like, but food that is also good for them. They will copy what you eat, so why not help all the family and only bring in the house food that is good for you? Of course everyone needs an occasional treat, but we should try to limit these to maybe once or twice a week.

9. They trust their parents to provide them with rules and discipline. Rules surround us every day and most of the time we don't realise it, as they are habits in our everyday life. We have a time that our employer wants us to start work and a time to finish work; it is same with children at school. Children subconsciously need rules. They need to know what is allowed and what is not, what is acceptable to say and what is not, and they need to learn good manners, respect and compassion for their fellow human beings. Children can be gradually given more responsibility and the freedom to voice an opinion. It is important that children are made aware of people who are perhaps not as fortunate as they are, perhaps due to ill health or poverty in a developing country. This awareness will help them appreciate what they have, and not crave things that they do not really need.

10. They want to have the freedom to express themselves and to experiment in low-risk circumstances. If children are not allowed to have the freedom to make mistakes they will not learn anything or develop a mind for flair and invention. Life would be boring if we all had the same personalities and abilities. Look at a child face when they have worked something out by themselves. The surprise on their face when you say well done you worked that out for yourself is a picture.

11. They want to play with their parents, brothers and sisters and enjoy events such as family gatherings, going to sporting events, the cinema and theatre.


12. Because it's a universal game with huge participation around the world played by both men and women as children, youngsters and adults.

Billions of people tune in to see football being played on TV and they are attracted by its glamour and the attractiveness of the sport – they want to see football being played in front of full stadiums projecting a lively vibrant atmosphere.

13. Football is a simple game to set up and you need little equipment to start playing. You can play with mum and dad and your pals and you only need a football and jumpers for goals.

14. It's a game played in virtually every school playground, with very noisy enthusiastic youngsters. Surveys confirm that children who play sport on a regular basis achieve higher grades in school and better behaviour records.

15. Football teaches discipline, how to keep fit and feel part of a team, it's character building and teaches the life skills of learning to win, draw and accepts defeat. Football is one of the best ways to develop a child's creativity and imagination.

16. Football is a healthy activity, keeps kids fit and they experience the camaraderie of being part of a team. Research has shown that children who are physically active have improved social skills and self esteem. Instil the habit early and it could last a lifetime.

17. Football is great for bringing kids and parents together to share their hobby and passion. It creates conversation topics and debate on football teams and individual favourites.

18. Football builds children's conversation with their pals and they love buying and swapping football cards of players and teams.

19. They'll grow to like a football team – it's usually Dad's favourite and they love to wear their team's kit with pride.

20. Football shows us how to win, lose and draw and I must say that I have made long-lasting friendships with parents whose children were in my teams.

21. Football is passionate, obsessive game that involves us in wide ranging emotions of ecstatic happiness and low despair. Football is in our spirit and it reaches those parts that other sports can not.


22. They want to have fun! Football can deliver many things that children want in life. Watch the faces of children and adults when their favourite player in their favourite team scores a goal. Watch their magical enthusiasm when they play and score a goal – the effect is priceless.

23. They want to play football with only the very basic rules and without the pressure of being told off by adults for making mistakes. This is a massive point.

24. They want to have the experience of feeling the freedom to experiment and try new skills to run with the ball and to score great goals from great shots.

25. Children these days are told 'It's the taking part that counts' – it is as if they should apologise for trying to win. However, in the real world life is very competitive and it is about winning and losing. Through sport, children learn to enjoy the great thrill that winning brings and this feeling motivates them to improve.

I always loved to win games and to make or score goals for my team. Children enjoy the buzz that winning gives them and they learn that in winning you need to play as a team. I learnt from a very early age that I could not win without the combined efforts of my team-mates.

While winning was exhilarating, I also had plenty of practice at losing and the experience of winning and losing gave me a balanced view of life and I grew to understand that providing I always gave my very best and I still lose then I could do no more. Always applaud effort.

26. When children score a goal or win a game they want to openly celebrate with their mates and show great enthusiasm doing it. They watch television and copy the goal celebrations of their heroes, even though they sometimes do not know the story behind the players' unique celebration.

27. The key to children enjoying their football and improving is the praise and positive feedback they receive from parents, spectators, coaches and particularly from their team -mates. This is probably the most important point in this book. We all thrive on praise, a pat on the back and a 'well done'. Praise gives us energy, lifts our spirits and we have a desire to do more. People like people who give out genuine praise. It is a fantastic thing to do in your life and it makes people happy which hopefully you love to do.

28. It is always interesting to see a player seek out a parent when they have just scored a goal, or contributed to making a goal. Parental approval is very important to them. That is what kids want – fun, happiness, winning games, variation, feeling fit and healthy, receiving praise and feedback. That's the recipe for success.


As adults we know how easy it is to put weight on, but how difficult it is to lose that weight when we want to. Health experts have been trying to prompt governments to act to improve our health, and especially in the last few years when the potential obesity problem has been highlighted. When you read the next group of observations and tips I hope that you see the power of eating the correct foods which help shape your individual lives and those of your family. Your family is so precious to you and therefore you must take notice of the type of food and the quantity of food you are all taking in.

29. An estimated 400 million people in the world are obese, with 20 million of them being under five years old. The condition raises the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart problems and cancer and may cause problems in the bone joints and knee areas.

In England, health experts are stating that the figures show that we are the middle of an obesity epidemic and that the cost to the National Health Service will be vast. Youngsters in inner cities are particularly prone to obesity, and children who have overweight parents are more likely to be overweight themselves. Overweight children run a high risk of being an overweight adult. Being physically active and eating the correct sized portions of the correct food will provide the foundation for a happy life.

Alarmists are stating that a generation of children is so obese that they may not live beyond the age of 50. The cost of being overweight will affect our clothing costs and visits to the dentist, chiropodist, doctor and osteopath.

Obese and overweight people have less chance of a happier life, getting jobs, of attracting social respect and have a much lower level of self esteem. Obesity is when we are more than 20% above our standard weight for our height.

30. The time to stop this epidemic is now, in early childhood, when eating habits are formed and before obesity causes the symptoms that raise the risk of heart conditions and diabetes.

Parents are responsible for giving their children a great start in life and there is no better way than to start them off on the right food while educating them that a fit, healthy body will provide them with a fitter happier mind. Stopping obesity means preventing it happening in the first place.

31. Children of parents who are or were obese themselves are much more likely to be overweight themselves. An overweight child is likely to become an overweight adult. Overweight children can be embarrassed about how they look in sports kit, and because of this they often try to avoid taking part in sport. But by not taking part the problem simply as they don't get enough exercise and their weight goes up. This chain reaction can then cause problems such as a lowering of confidence and self esteem and sometimes even depression.

32. Studies have highlighted that people who eat quickly until full are three times more likely to be overweight. The research concludes that people should eat slowly and in calmer surroundings, which will help them digest their food better and they will then eat less.

33. 25% of 13–17-year-olds in England are obese compared with only 11% in Germany and only 10% in Holland. The number of children needing hospital treatment in the UK for obesity has doubled in the last eight years.

34. Since 1993 up to 5,000 school playing fields in England have been sold off. There are fewer sports lessons at primary schools in particular, where the pressure to improve the achievement statistics in reading, writing and mathematics has taken important time away from the physical education timetable.

35. Fast food consumption has soared and there is more space given in supermarkets to highly profitable cakes, biscuits, jams, crisps and sweets. The more these products are purchased by the consumer, the more space they are given in store. Food manufacturers are encouraged to develop new products with a bigger range of varieties, sizes and flavours. This sector also produces a high level of in-store promotional activity to encourage sweet-toothed purchasers into increasing their sugar intake.

However, if you want all the fantastic benefits of being the correct weight, feeling really healthy and full of life, giving up or reducing the amount of fast foods and sugar-laden treats you eat is a very small price to pay.

36. Parents can lead by example in a number of ways. Firstly, we know children are influenced by their parents so make sure that you as a parent are not overweight yourself. Your children will copy many of your habits and actions so throw out all those fatty foods you have in the kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer and buy in healthier foods that will provide the daily calories you require but will not put on further weight. You and your children are now on the right track to lower your weight and maintain a new you.

Next, start walking a lot more than you normally do. Forget the car and the bus and start walking the kids to school. Gradually you will find that you are walking a lot more in a week than you did before. Write down your walking mileage per week. If you walk quite briskly for 20 minutes, that's about one mile. Give yourself some fruit as a sweet reward for your efforts. Start the process now.

You'll find that you and your youngsters are bonding even more now as you have a mutual goal that you can work at together – getting fit and eating healthier. In a few weeks you will be feeling healthier, slimmer and less sluggish and your mind will become sharper. I promise you it works.

This is now work in progress and you have done the hardest bit which is getting started. The burgers and pies and chips have gone and you have lost the taste for ice cream, chocolate bars, biscuits, cakes and fizzy pop. Don't worry, they haven't left your life forever, but now they are just an occasional treat.

Believe me, you and your children are now forming new habits which will open up a new life for you. You should be proud of yourself – your confidence should be higher and your self esteem raised.


Excerpted from Simply the Best by Paul Bielby. Copyright © 2011 Paul Bielby. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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