The player quite literally jumping for joy is Monty Rose. After two years at Mini Colts (u5/6), this was the moment at the start of their u7 season when Monty and his team mates (now all in the u9s) had just experienced their first tournament and been presented with their first medals.

Monty’s dad Paul is one of the longest-serving coaches in the club. For several years he has coached his older son Ronnie’s team, u12 Herons; whilst he has also been an invaluable aid to the u9s. However Paul is part of that rare breed, someone who also gave up his time to help coach a WBCFC team without his own children in it – and he is proud to be able to say that in the girls team he coached for 4 years in the noughties, he helped develop the career of a Champions League goalkeeper!*

Back to Monty…and Paul takes up the story:

“Monty has a stammer. He has had it on and off for all his life and the severity of it changes from day to day. He goes to speech therapy and and we practise techniques at home with him and most importantly speak to him about it and how it makes him feel. Sometimes he can’t actually say anything!

Over the last few years I have been looking into the ways people react to stammers and how teachers and classmates can help people who stammer as it can be quite debilitatingLots of kids will just hide it by not saying anything as they are scared to get stuck on a word and get laughed at.

Apparently 1% of the population have a stammer – there will no doubt be a number of other players in Colts in a similar position to Monty.

I went in to Monty’s school and sat in his class as his teacher showed the kids this short film as he was getting very anxious about going to school due to kids making fun of him.

I was really pleased by the way the kids showed an interest and how Monty suddenly felt loads better because his classmates understood what he was going through.

Kids are great as you know and once they understand stuff are usually very supportive. Also the teachers have all seen it and tell me they too have learnt a bit now as surprisingly they have no training about kids stammering.

If teachers don’t get training in this area, of course volunteer football coaches don’t, and for a child in a frantic training session or full on match, it can prove quite daunting.

I shared this video with the u9 coaches, and would now like to share more widely around the club – if coaches, parents & fellow players can take a couple of minutes out to watch it, they will be able to support any team mates who stammer:

(did you know that Oct 22nd was International Stammering Awareness day?)