Every child should come with a manual saying; this child is full of imagination, wonder, ingenuity, courage and creativity, so please handle with care, because these qualities are fragile. Please don’t tread on their dreams or kill their creativity! Each individual is unique in their own way.

We all may have varying levels of capacity for creativity and maybe some people are born with natural potential for extreme genial levels of creative capacity, but maybe not, maybe they were just allowed to function and blossom that way?!

The nature V nurture conversation has gone on for years, but one thing is for sure; if it’s in our ‘nature’ to be creative, then creativity as a living, growing thing definitely needs to be ‘nurtured’ if it’s to be utilised to its full potential.


How much creative potential is left lying dormant because of the environment created?

An environment with creativity for children can affect all parts of a child’s development and growth as a human being.

Are you allowing an environment for children to; play, explore, enquire, try, fail, express themselves with freedom and find their own solutions to their problems or challenges?


What are the consequences of a creativity rich environment, or a creativity poor environment?

What happened to that child that used to be full of wonder and expression and no longer is?

Maybe it’s through our very own inhibitions, insecurities, ignorance and poor perceptions of what is best for the child to grow.

How many times do we see a youth game of football that’s stale, dull, predictable, horrible to watch and the life, energy, effervescence and purity of the game has had the life sucked out of it by ‘adults’ interfering and dominating on a sideline?

If we just took the parents/coaches away, would we see a better game? More creativity? More expression? More joy? I think far too often, the answer would be YES!

We want them to be independent thinkers, problems solvers, decisive decision-makers, leaders, pioneers and just general every day highly efficient, functioning and productive people.

Try to enjoy the process a young child goes through, getting lost in a world of wonder. This process of creativity in action is a developmental masterpiece in itself, it’s a thing of creative beauty in its entirety and should be encouraged and not interrupted either.

I’ve often wondered how the genial creative mind of J.K. Rowling would tell stories to a child.

To create the Harry Potter legacy is no mean feat and didn’t happen overnight. A young mind that is inspired and ignited like this will grow in a creative capacity and its potential could be boundless?

‘It matters not what we are born, but what we are grown to be!’

– J.K. Rowling 


As a adult in the child’s world of learning, are you playing your part in ‘cultivating’ or ‘Killing’ children’s creativity?

If we do kill creativity (I know I have been guilty of this many times as a father and coach), then why?

Are we scared of the mess that comes during the process of creativity?

Are we as coaches scared to let our sessions become messy and unstructured? Are we coaching to a please a curriculum before cultivating creativity in the child? Are we impatient?

Are we afraid to lose control?

Every time we tell a child to stop making a mess at home or interject on a football pitch, are we stifling creativity through their play?

To get efficient football technique, especially when starting from scratch at a young age, or developing something new like ‘the weaker foot’, the process looks horrible and awkward at times, but it’s part of the process, to grow and develop. Growth hurts and sometimes we stop because we don’t want it to look so bad, or can’t deal with the discomfort of the ‘ugly’ performance. The aesthetics can wait, the process is much more important than the outcome, it’s a positive thing. Remember every butterfly was once a not so pretty caterpillar.

‘Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns to look at things in a different way!’

-Edward De Bono- 

Consider this with football, and learning about mastering the ball and mastering the game. Is creativity exclusive to our dribblers and number 10’s? Or 6,7, 8-year-olds, but stops at 11, 12 and almost evaporates by mid to late teens. Why? Are we coaching a curriculum too often, rather than coaching players and cultivating creativity?

If it is, it shouldn’t be, goalies, defenders, u10, u12, u18 and senior players need creativity to thrive in football, all players right through the team and ages will function better with creativity as a tool in their armoury for sure.

At home, at school, at play, from the football field to the kitchen table doing homework, how often are your children allowed to be fully expressive and creative when there’s a chance to be at some point in their day?

There are 1,440 minutes in a day, how can you encourage your child creativity?
Can you give them opportunities to try and fail?
Can you challenge them to try something new?
Can you give them opportunities to problem solve?

It’s almost an instinct of ours to go head-on towards problems with the inquisition, exploration in search of a solution, but in trying to help children are we actually taking away the opportunity for them to go head-on towards problems?

What part can and should we be playing as guardians of our children’s development?

Can you be a cultivator of creativity?

Until next time.

Take care, Glen Hicks, Head of Player Development.


Players can join Glen on the Virtual Academy for 1on1 video calls and mentoring, player progress reports and exclusive training tutorials used in elite academies.