Do you pay your child if they score a goal?

I wrote this after seeing a conversation on the GrassRoots Football Facebook page. I think it is a bad idea, although no doubt well-meaning, to pay a child to score a goal.


The child who is getting paid £5 a goal, or whatever the monetary value, is harder to coach. Firstly with a binary payment system such as goal = cash, and no goal = no cash, you are telling the young player that goals are the only measure worthy of reward.

Football is a team game, and some of the best individual team-first performances won’t end up with a goal, and some of the worst can yield a goal. I would take the former every week.

Whenever the kid who is getting paid-per-goal gets the ball their focus will be on scoring. The focus on team play and making good decisions for the team will likely be overshadowed by the desire to score and be paid.

I actually found out recently that a boy I have been coaching on decision-making for years was being paid and the penny dropped for me – no wonder it has been so hard to get this particular player to make good decisions. A good decision to that boy is to score and to get paid, not to play well for the team.

There are broadly three main decisions a player has to make when they receive the ball in the final third. Pass, shoot or travel with the ball. Coaching when to make which decision to young players is hard enough without loading cash on the option to shoot.

In my opinion and in my experience, I would say don’t pay for goals.