STANDING ON THE EDGE: Grafton City Soccer Club stalwart Kerry Skinner is looking ahead to a bright future for junior football in the Clarence.
STANDING ON THE EDGE: Grafton City Soccer Club stalwart Kerry Skinner is looking ahead to a bright future for junior football in the Clarence. Matthew Elkerton

Sport has power to change lives: Skinner

FOOTBALL: WHEN it comes to preparing the next generation of Clarence Valley footballers, Grafton City Soccer Club coaching coordinator Kerry Skinner has a simple philosophy: just let them play.

"One of the things we focus on is that we want the kids to enjoy what they're doing,” he said.

"The nature of teaching the game has changed a lot in the last few years. Rather than telling the kids 'you've got to do this, and you've got to do that' we ask them to show us how they can do it.

"As a result, they have fun while being challenged to go out and show us how they can do their first touch control, their first pass, how they work as a team, how they keep their head up while dribbling... all those essential tips that make up the game.”

However, Kerry said the main message to pass on to parents and guardians was that it's not just about their children picking up some football tricks.

"Social interaction makes up 50 per cent while the other 50 per cent is being part of something, in this case, a team, that is going to empower them to become a better individual,” he said.

"There's the saying 'kids in sport stay out of court' and I like to think that holds true.”

Kerry said his philosophy is reflective of the mentors and teachers he encountered in life, from his parents, relatives, coaches to friends, with each sharing their knowledge and experience not just of the sport he was involved in at the time, but also their life's lessons.

"You are only as good as what you learn and what you can share,” he said.

"Most of us that are coaches now are using our own experience and sharing our knowledge and that's important; it's part of all culture right across the whole planet.

"From this learning, it's important to know you can stick your hand up and ask for help or advice, no matter what role you're in and we as coaches follow that same idea.”

Having grown up playing football in South Grafton, he said the changes in attitude toward the game have been nothing but positive.

"As a kid I used to come up to Rushforth Park to play soccer. Now my kids are going through,” he said.

"I've opened the doors for my kids so that they can freely express themselves and have access too, but those doors one time were closed. They used to be closed for girls, but now we're seeing so many come through that we're considering starting an all-girls junior team.”

To find out more about the junior all-girls squad, please email: vice.president@graftoncitysoccerclub.com.au



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