Supportive signage, cheers of support and clapping were hallmarks of the weekends Silent Saturday activities across Northern NSW as clubs embraced the concept and simply encouraged spectators to “just let the kids play”.
Silent Saturday is a NNSWF initiative for the ALDI MiniRoos age groups (5-11), with the day encouraging all spectators and coaches to “keep quiet” and let the kids play.
The underlying objectives of the exercise are;
– To re-emphasise that the game is for the players and allowing the kids to simply play and have fun
– To give the players a chance to play, learn and enjoy the game on their own
– To completely eliminate the verbal questioning of the referees’ decisions and/or ability
– To reaffirm to parents and coaches that players do not need constant direction to enjoy their match.
Members of the Northern NSW Football Community Football staff visited clubs across the Hunter and the Mid North Coast region to see the clubs, coaches and spectators take part in the great initiative.
“Children learn football by playing football, so it was great to see the children having the opportunity to learn the beautiful game by just being allowed to play”, said Northern NSW Football’s ALDI Miniroos Development Officer Tom Oldaker of his visit to Port Macquarie United’s fixtures.
Northern NSW Football’s Community Football Manager Peter Haynes visited various Newcastle and Lake Macquarie based clubs on the day and commented that Silent Saturday was well received at all of the clubs visited.
‘I think a lot of those in attendance have realised how sideline comments can impact the atmosphere of the game and detract from the players experience. For many it was a welcome change to hear the commentary, banter and laughs and enjoyment from those playing, rather than vocal sideline instructions from spectators,’ Haynes said.
Northern NSW Football’s Club & Referee Development Officer Ross Hicks visited Maitland Junior FC, Tenambit FC & Thornton Junior FC .
Hicks also commended these clubs and their spectators on their willingness to embrace the concept.
‘All three clubs ran their day very well and are to be congratulated on their efforts,’ Hicks said.
‘One of the U6 games at Maitland displayed excellent sportsmanship, with parents from both teams cheering & clapping players from theirs and the opposition when they did well.’
‘At Thornton a couple of the teams had signs they held up throughout the game which demonstrated other ways of cheering your team on.’
‘Club committee personnel were active in promoting the day on their social media, as well as to the respective coaches and managers of participating teams. From social media coverage and communications sent to all parents, coaches and volunteers, the day was highly publicised and resulted in the highest awareness of the initiative ever and all clubs should be applauded for their efforts,’ Hicks concluded.