youth sports: competitive balance or stacked teams vs losers

Everything related to tactics, coaching and refereeing
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B Heck
Senior Member
Posts: 159
Joined: 21 Apr 2005, 16:40
Location: Washington state


I'm curious what most benefits youth soccer players: similar teams where the outcome of each game is uncertain or teams where groups of all-stars dominate lesser teams. Parents naturally want their kids to be winners and to play on a dominate team. They will do all sorts of things to stack a team with bigger, faster, more skillful players, and to exclude any weak players. Most leagues have strict policies to reduce this, but it happens often anyway. Do the really good players benefit from being on these dominant teams? Weak players can limit what can be done in practice and during games, especially in the passing and team tactics areas. On the other hand, lack of competition doesn't do much for the really good players either. For the younger players (U6-10), where development of individual skills is more important, would talented players benefit from being on bad teams?

Should 11-0 scores be eliminated or should we just accept this as the best way to develop our best players (and drive away most newcomers, late bloomers, or plain lousy players)?

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Joined: 13 Sep 2004, 16:40


would talented players benefit from being on bad teams?
I don't think so. Talented players need both good teammates and serious competition to advance.

The problem with US youth soccer is that there are way too many teams in general. Clubs never turn down young players no matter how bad they are. The leagues are happy also, because the more teams there are, the more money they make. On Long Island, for example, there are seven divisions in the U14 age group. Most youth soccer in America serves as daycare for suburban kids.

lil italy
Veteran Member
Posts: 682
Joined: 22 Aug 2005, 06:43
Location: Sydney, Australia


A player cant really get any better by winning ever game. They will get too confident and when put against a good opposition they will lose. You can benefit as a team from playing an easy team every now and then, it basically helps you work your team out; you will know where your teammates are in certain situations and your passing game will be much better.
For example, i played the worst team in the league a few weeks ago. When we had the ball, they couldnt get a touch. We were passing around them, working the one-two's and we benefited from it.

If you want to improve as a player you should mainly play against people a little bit better than you, so at first if you dont do so well, you can learn from your mistakes and see an improvement. You will learn just about all things needed in soccer - strength, passing, shooting, speed etc, as you have to improve those attributes to be a good player against the competition.

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