Cheltenham Town youth coach Pete Haynes talks head injuries, dementia and player personal development

Cheltenham Town Under 18 coach Pete Haynes

Cheltenham Town under 18’s coach Pete Haynes has strong opinions on the development of his players both inside and outside of the world of football.

“It’s more important than the football, in most cases a good bloke makes a good footballer, it might sound like a cliché, if they’re hardworking, if their standards are high on and off the pitch, if they’re humble and they are prepared to listen then they have all key the traits to be a footballer,” responded Haynes when asked if personal development is as important as improving skills on the pitch.

Haynes is aware and understanding of the pressures that young players face both within the world of football and the outside world with current government rulings regarding COVID-19.

“You do not have to be a footballer 24/7, but when they are outside of our environment (you think) are they eating the right things, are they staying healthy… not only for the footballing but for their lifestyle.”

The 26-year-old coach believes that the “open door” system that the club runs, throughout the first team and youth sides further develops skills on and off the pitch for the academy players.

“Were extremely fortunate where our training pitches are side by side and the manager has an open-door policy, were allowed in for all discussions, we have good chats about the players 

“When a younger goes to train with the first team, the players like Will Boyle and Ben Tozer could recognise good players and help them develop and they set a good standard out and they look after our young players

“Buts what’s more important is when a young player is not doing the right thing, they get pulled up on it, and I think when that message comes from a pro, it means more than when it comes from the coaches and that accountability is massive”

Pete Haynes discussed a rising topic in sport, concussions and head injuries. The sport has seen some greats such as Bobby Moore and Nobby Stiles succumb to dementia after their careers, saying regulations and protocols are now vital and compulsory for health of players.

Petr Cech, Raul Jimenez and Ryan Mason have all had head injuries, with the latter having to retire from the sport.

“There are some very strong concussion protocols, which we follow, which has been great as player safety is important 

“With the younger players if they experience any concussion symptoms, there is a check list for the physios to go through, and there is a straight away removal from all activities for two weeks and there is a gradual return to play which takes another two weeks.

“The one thing we need to make very clear is that players need to be protected and that safety is the most important thing and anything we can do for that is key and any laws for that come in are the best for players safety”

There are currently no laws at this moment of time for restricting heading the ball for U18’s, however with the trend continuing, football authorities might be looking at making changes in the name of player safety.

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