Ford emphasizes on fun as a fundamental element for success
Q&A with Graham Ford
Director of coaching and player development for Wooster Soccer Association
Why do you think sports are valuable to young people?
“I think [sports] give them self esteem and fitness for life, and this is where I feel that it doesn’t mesh here with America… They [young people] feel the pressure, particularly from family. I read an article that said about 75 percent of all people do not involve themselves in any physical activity, ball-wise, after the age of 14. The drop-off rate is so high because they feel the pressure, and I feel strongly that that is something I would like to be part of, to stop from happening.”
What message do you have for young athletes and their parents?
“It has to be fun. Compare it to learning an instrument. If you know how to play the right note, you can then play a song on an instrument. If you don’t know the right notes, it’s not fun… I played a sport not to win, but to be good at it and then I enjoyed playing. When I got to a certain level, I would go play at a team that I wasn’t the best at and then I could work my way up to be one of the better players. It wasn’t about winning with me, it was about being competitive.”
How would you change sports culture if you could?
“It’s not about scholarships, it’s not about being a professional, it’s about being active, and if you have fun doing it, then you are more likely to be active…So, what [coaches] try to do is give [athletes] good ideas of how to be successful in doing an activity correctly and then they can have fun on their own. I feel strongly with my sport, for example, the so-called experienced coaches do not want to coach the young kids. That is what I love doing now, working as a director of coaching. The youngest player I am working with is just three, and I love that because I know they are learning correctly.”