Sibling rivalry is something most of us have to deal with in some form. The dynamic between brothers, like the Rooney’s pictured above, sisters and male and female sibling mixes can really help shape the way that we grow up. In the case of Wayne and his brothers, the family are a bit of an anomaly in terms of talent as it is often the youngest sibling that turns out to be the most talented within sport as they have to compete with their bigger, tougher, older siblings. A huge generalisation, so don’t shoot me down for that statement - but it does often seem to be the case.
The development that comes from having an older sibling can be really useful and in other ways really quite tough. Competing against someone that typically has many competitive advantages over you is hard, but being the underdog has its benefits. You have to up your game! You have to be mentally and physically tough to cope with the demands of an uneven playing field.
In our world of focussing on fun and enjoyment rather than development and competition, sibling participation is really interesting. At our courses we see lots of siblings, particularly at our school holiday courses as it proves to be a convenient childcare solution for multiple children families. We get lots of brother and sister duos. In fact most of our female participants come along with a male sibling, perhaps showing the psychological safety net that an older sibling provides. We recently looked at some stats around our participation figures and found that girls make up just 7% of our course attendees. This is something we’re pretty disappointed about and are determined to change. The barriers to participation may be around the social environment that is typically in place within football sessions. We work really hard to create the most inclusive, supportive and welcoming environment possible in everything that we do.
For all of our school holiday courses we offer a 50% discount for siblings, meaning that a second or third (or fourth or fifth!) child from the same family comes along at half price. This has proven a good way to drive female participation and make our courses affordable for families with two or more football-mad children!
Please feedback to us with your experiences of siblings within football, sport or indeed any element of life by commenting below.