Nelson principals have spoken up after a backlash from parents in relation to Nelson Bays Football’s decision to stop publishing results tables for junior players Photo: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport.

No results for junior footballers

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Nelson junior football will no longer publish results in an effort to downplay the importance of winning.

New Zealand Football has implemented a nationwide initiative to no longer publish scores and points tables for junior grades, aged 4-12 years.

NZF’s junior development manager, Owain Prosser, says under no circumstances will match results be published publicly by member federations, local associations or clubs.

“The recording of match results can be conducted for the purpose of assigning teams appropriate levels of competitive games, ensuring the most enjoyable experience for all players.”

Owain says this is to reduce an ‘over emphasis’ on winning.

“This has been shown to lead to unnecessary pressure on players, punishments for losing and negative impact on player enjoyment.”

He says players will know who has scored the goals and whether they have won or lost, but there will be no points ladder.

Nelson Bays Football development officer Diarmuid Brazendale says the decision to not collect, keep or publish results and standings was not a difficult decision to make.

“Although it may seem radical here in Nelson it does in fact just bring us into line with the rest of the country and, importantly, many other countries.”

Diarmuid says the rationale behind the decision is multi-faceted.

“Research shows us that when we focus on the result then it is more likely that all players will not receive equal playing time, the temptation is to leave on the field players who are more likely to influence the score. In junior football our principal focus is on ensuring that enjoyment and participation are at the forefront.”

Diarmuid says NBF wants to move the focus away from the result to the development of players.

The move has been met with mixed reviews from parents.

“As with any new concept there is often uncertainty among stakeholders, particularly if there is a change in systems that have stayed the same for a long time, but the feedback that I have received has been very positive with many people commenting on how much more relaxed game days are.”

However, not all are on board with the change, worried it will encourage players to be non-competitive.

But Diarmuid says NBF are working towards a situation where young players can play without undue pressure from the side-lines.

“Ultimately, the game is for the players and taking the result out of the equation keeps it that way.”