Don't be in a Rush

Parents (and many coaches) are in such a rush to move their players from one stage of development to another. They want their kids to play on the highest level team, in the best division, against the best players regardless if they are actually ready for it. They view it as a status symbol as much for them as for their child.

This is most obvious during the tryout process each year. You have parents jockeying for the best position on the best team in the biggest club. What they should be doing is finding the RIGHT position on the RIGHT team in the RIGHT club with the RIGHT coach.

Kids are best served by playing with other children that are at the same developmental stage that they are. This will allow the coach to set the level of difficulty so that all players maximize their development. If your son or daughter is on a team with more advanced players they will be expected to play at that level. That might be unrealistic given their level of talent and experience. There's nothing wrong with challenging players to reach high standards but if those challenges are unrealistic they will be frustrated demotivated. They will probably give up because they just aren't able to reach the level of the other players.

It's far better to find a team that will challenge the child at a level where they can achieve some success. That success drives their motivation to continue to try and creates an upward spiral of development.

You can also see this rush when it comes to having players move from one format to the next. It seems that everyone wants their kids to progress as quickly as possible from 4 v 4  to 6 v 6 to 8 v 8 and finally to 11 v 11. It's as if getting there quicker will mean that they are better players, faster. Skipping through these important steps too quickly can hurt a player because it will make them too dependent on their athleticism to survive rather than being able to acquire the skills that  are nurtured at each stage of development.

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I came across a German Youth Development Model on a Twitter post recently that I thought laid out a good framework for the stages of development that each player goes through from four to 30 years old. It gives the expectations and guidelines for each stage. I thought it was an interesting insight to the German system.

Youth Development Program

Please share your thoughts and comments in the section below.

Have a great day!


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