Goal of the Program
Does the program exist to make money, to win championships or to develop players?
They will all say the third but this is not true of very many. For players at the younger ages, you can best determine this in looking at the team’s training setup. Are players being taught fundamental skills and how to play the game, or is all the focus on beating the opposition. There are shortcuts to winning at the younger level, usually involving size, speed and strength. There’s no crime to having big and fast players of course, and these elements are important to winning at any level, but the question to ask yourself “would our playing style work if we were matched against a team as physically mature as ourselves?”
What is the club’s approach to team vs. player development?
Some say if a team would be totally affected by one player moving up to another age level, then it’s time to move that player. If you find that hard to accept, you may want to consider your own approach to the youth game, is it about developing players or about winning matches now.
There’s no question that there’s some relationship between winning and development. I’m sure a coach could use “development” as an excuse for not being competitive. But you don’t as a parent want to confuse “competitive” with “winning everything.” Ultimately as competitors we will want to start winning more and more. I believe that once you hit the u14s, then you can start being a little more competitive ( a little). Some coaches tell me it should be more like U16 and I’m not without sympathy for that approach and it also defends whether your working a amateur or professional academy. Its clear training approaches and emphases for U14 players should be different than those at U17, and there often remains a question for some “just what are we developing these players for?”
That may be another question for another post that is actually already in the works (I think), but whatever gray exists for those upper teen years, I feel pretty confident about ages 7 to10 and 11 to 14 and what we should be focusing on. Parents can do much worse than follow the guidelines on the previous post. Click link for.. No Loyalty In youth Football anymore?…After all, is just a game! https://www.thecoachdiary.com/?p=1497