Should kids get equal playing time?

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by NewDadaCoach, Mar 15, 2021.

  1. saltysoccer

    saltysoccer New Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Mar 6, 2021
    it's U8 soccer, not advanced physics!

    If you go to the park and play any sport with some random older kids who are already playing at the park, then the chances are that they're better than you. It's a kind of pressure, but you just deal with it. Go home and practice (or not).
     
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  2. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Physics was maybe a bad choice. Let's say it would be like trying to learn multiplication before you learn addition.

    Yeah but the park is free and organic. The kid can join or quit as they feel. I think that's the best way to learn. I think if you pay money for a league, with uniforms and tropies and all that then you gotta at least have some basic foundational skills, not just depend on the coach to get you up to speed. I don't think you can get up to speed in such limited time frame. It's not fair to expect a coach to do that for you. You have to practice on your own.
     
  3. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    At U8, if you have a kid that doesn't even want to run and just stands there, I honestly don't see the point in having him on the team. Why sign him up? It doesn't make sense to me. The kid at least has to TRY... is that a reasonable requirement for playing time? The kid must give at least "nominal effort"
     
  4. kinznk

    kinznk Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    My son always participated so I'm just spitballing here. At the u little ages I'm guessing the conversation goes something like this, "Hey Johnny, would you like to play soccer on a team?" "Yeah!" It usually isn't followed up with lengthy explanation of what is going to happen and the expectations there of. Johnny gets out there at practice and is involved in a mediocre sort of effort. Parents are pleased, Johnny is running a bit rather than playing Xbox. Johnny also seems to have some modicum of fun. Come game day, Johnny walks to the field and sees his teammates with the same shirts on, oversized shorts on, and shin guards outside their socks. Hes getting excited and his heart is racing a bit and the nerves are coming but it's still kind of like practice so he's hanging on during warm-ups. Then the game starts against other kids with different shirts, 40 parents and grand parents begin shouting encouraging things like "Run!" or "Kick it!" or "Go!". Johnny can't make heads or tails of that cacophony of noise because his heart is pounding like he's never experienced before. He falls into a sort of shock and begins crying as he is 20 yards from the action drifting away from it. The new soccer parents are embarrassed and continue to encourage him, yet tears continue. After the game the parents wonder what happened and Johnny says he doesn't want to go back. The parents know they don't want to let Johnny quit something because he had a negative experience, they want him to learn to fight through things and develop some perseverance.

    Conversely, Johnny may also show up and pick weeds and dance through practice and games. Parents don't exactly know what their kid will do. Also, parents don't all have the same experience as parents. It could be their oldest child and their first rodeo with youth soccer and it seems like a good parenting thing to him do soccer with friends. Parents may not know what to prep him for. Millions of kids get through it without problems, so it seems like a good thing.

    Youth soccer, or youth sports, also serves as socialization for kids. By that I don't mean hanging out with friends but the lessons from it ie handle adversity, persevere, and others.

    I'm a school teacher and a sports fan. I knew what to expect and prepped my son for the experience. Reading your posts, we probably have some similarities in approach. However, it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of soccer things. What I always told my son was "People don't care how good you are when your six, they care how good you are when you're sixteen." I adjusted each year for his age. Don't get caught up in the teams and coaches at the u8 age. Practice with him, teach him to practice on his own, watch games, he'll be fine.
     
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  5. TheKraken

    TheKraken Member

    United States
    Jun 21, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No it doesn't bode well. We have one kid on our team who just isn't as good as the rest of our players. We are U13, but the kid just can't play at the same level as the rest of them. He tries hard, but the skill isn't there. I feel bad for the parents, because they are nice and love the game, but it's obvious there is one player who doesn't make the cut.
     
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  6. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Sorry to hear, but at least he tries and that's something.
    I guess in a perfect world everyone would be playing with and against similar skill levels. But hey, first world problems I guess.

    I joined a men's rec team a couple years ago, after a long hiatus. There were 2 guys who had never played before. I knew it would be a rough season. I tried to teach them things. They were cool guys and put forth good effort but man, it brought home the reality that no one should ever do that. It's really pointless, they weren't learning much and it drags down the whole team. They would learn much more if they just went to pickup games and practiced on their own. Do that for like 6 months at least and then join a league. There were some former college players in this league, and then you got a few guys who literally never played. It's just dumb. Just go play a bunch of pickup
     
  7. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Is there not a way to multi quote? I've got a lot of responses to you. First, the more anyone does ANYTHING, the better they'll get. At the younger ages (U10 and younger if not a couple of years more), there is nothing wrong with getting into a league/organization. Should if be some place requiring hours of travel and thousands of dollars? No. I see nothing wrong with taking a class or two to see if a child likes the sport, but 10-20? And keep in mind not everyone has a park or a set group of buddies nearby to get 10-20 "sessions" in.
     
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  8. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    The only "high pressure" game at U10 & below, especially rec is only generated by the parents. If you feel the game to decide the U9 rec championship for Boondocks FC is "high pressure", that explains a lot of your posts.
     
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  9. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    So earlier in the thread, you wanted to limit playing time based on "passion" and "commitment". Now, you're saying the folks (at any level) who are committed to showing up at a certain time of the week, and who are interested in the sport SHOULDN'T play?

    Did you ever think people just starting out don't know others who like the sport, don't know when or where to find "pick up" games? Don't know enough to train on their own?

    Did you offer to work with these new guys outside of the games and help them out? I'm guessing not. Instead you want to push willing participants out of a RECREATIONAL league because they don't meet your definition of "good enough".

    That's just sad.
     
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  10. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    WONDERFULY put!

    Regarding the bolded, I'd change it to "The majority of people don't care how good you are when you're six... " You'll apparently always run into folks like @NewDadaCoach who think no one should participate if they're not "good enough".
     
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  11. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    At the risk of piling on, this one hits a nerve. I played until late 2019 in an indoor co-ed rec league that started out several years ago as over-40 for men, over-30 for women and, out of necessity eventually became over-18 for women and over-30 for men. Periodically people would drift in from more competitive leagues looking for more soccer -- that's great -- but almost inevitably a few of them would complain that various players couldn't trap well, pass well, ... It's a rec league, folks, and some of the people on the field have probably never played before they step on the field.

    This is one of the things that's always pissed me off about golf. I enjoy swinging a club but I'm certifiably bad. Every golf course and driving range I've ever been within a hundred yards of -- including the one where I worked in college and the one where I visit family now -- is full of people who don't think you should be there if you aren't already at least pretty competent.

    As for kids, based on our experience (two sons, now 19 and 16), kinzk has it about right. Don't overthink it. When they're young, let 'em play (toss some training balls out around your house for your really young ones if you want them to have some fun and develop some familiarity -- but skip the drills). Some of them will decide they don't like it. Some will take to it right away (and possibly drift away later, anyway).

    For some of the daisy pickers, though, that switch might just flip all on its own and they wind up loving it. That was my youngest. Literally he went from couldn't-care-less one fall at age 6 or 7 (with my wife and I saying maybe we should let him try something else) to motivated and happiest if he's on a field with a ball the next spring. I have no idea why, but I can assure you it was nothing we actively did beyond knocking a ball around with him when he wanted to.

    Off my soapbox.
     
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  12. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    What I mean by "high pressure" is that in a game setting, with real field, real goals, a scoreboard, ref, uniforms... (yes all of these things are used in the U8 indoor game)... there is inherently high pressure, partly yes from parents, but most of the kids go into aggressive game mode in that scenario. Well a few don't of course and that's the point. At that age I think you get one or two who kind of freeze up and/or watch butterflies. And those kids should not be playing because they literally won't play, they just stand there. That's not a learning experience for them and seems it might even scare them into not liking the game. I would take those kids to the park and start with them just playing in a relaxed setting. They need to gradually build up confidence and skills.
     
  13. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I told those guys about pickup games around town. I don't think they took advantage of that. I did try to help. I think they signed up for the team because they thought that's how they were gonna learn soccer. But you can't really learn in that kind of environment. You need to go to park and setup some cones and dribble. And work on fundamentals.
    I think to learn you have to increase pressure gradually. Like if lifting weights, you can't lift 200 lbs if you first can't lift 100 lbs.
    I find my learning stalls when I face high pressure. I practice moves on my own, but when I play in a game I can't do the move because the pressure is too high. I have to gradually build up the ability by facing slow pressure first, then medium, then high.
     
  14. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I feel you on the golf thing. I tried to learn golf for years but I must just not be built for it. Gave it up completely.

    I agree with what you said about toss some balls at home for the young ones to kick around. That's all I am asking for a parent to do before putting them in a organized team. I don't think that's too much to ask.
     
  15. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    The fact you call having uniforms, a "real" field, a "real" goal, refs, etc "high pressure" is again a parent's view. At that age, parents should be advocating the kids go out and have FUN. Yes, kids might freeze up or pick flowers, or whatever. SO WHAT? Is little Timmy standing on the field taking away from another kid?

    Did you read what @kinznk or @CornfieldSoccer wrote? We've been through this. The kid who picks flowers today might score 5 goals next week. According to you, they "shouldn't be out there" to start with.

    I know, you want your kid to be the next Messi. You're still starting on the long journey that MIGHT end up with you son playing in HS, much less college or professional.

    Yes, sure, kick the ball around with him at home. Go watch the game and cheer him on. Don't worry about what the other kids are doing. Actually, better yet, cheer THEM on. Trust me. Enjoy this time. Pretty soon you'll be worrying about what club team they're trying out for and if they're going to qualify for State Cup, or what college or university they want to go to.
     
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  16. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    It's the kids who go into game mode. Some are quite aggressive.

    Having a kid who stands there just makes it awkward for everyone. Does their parent want them to stay in the game if the kid is obviously not into it? What should the coach do? What is the parent expecting? When I coached some kids refused to even go in the game. Force them to go in? Hey the parents paid for this.
     
  17. kinznk

    kinznk Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    Semi on topic, but related to the journey that kids take. One of my favorite threads on the board is titled Identifying Talent -How and When. Its about 3 or 4 pages back. It's a good mix of sound advice and some parents who think they have a superstar on their hands. Not just in that thread, but in other threads, there are countless big soccer posters who have kids that are quite a cut above normal and are destined for greatness. However, 99.9 % (hyperbole) of those posters stop posting on big soccer before their kids reaches 16. I dont know why that is. I have some guesses. Perhaps lives change they don't have time to post exploits on a message board. Others I could see not posting due to some embarrassment. Not embarrassed about their kid but of their own valuation of their child's abilities compared the thousands upon thousands of kids in their age group. How do you keep posting about your child when they end up being a solid high school player when you thought they had that something magical that would vault them to the US National team? That's a large gap, even though being a solid high school player is a very respectable level.

    Parents get caught up in their children. I get it. I have internally fought against that my sons whole career. Within minutes of a game I've seen my son go down the field as I beamed inside that was destined to lead the US to World Cup glory to the next time down the field thinking he'll be lucky to play JV. He will likely up somewhere between those two extremes. He's still playing and has surpassed the latter and still has the dream of the former scenario.

    So my advice to parents is two things. 1. Go to a big youth tournament that has 20 to 30 fields and just stand their and scan the fields and ask yourself if your kid is more special in soccer (skill, mentality, potential combinations of speed and size) than 99% of the kids playing that weekend? Then adjust expectations accordingly. 2. Set a reasonable goal for your child, in your mind and how you can help them achieve that. My goal for my son was to help him be good enough to be a decent high school player. As a young parent, I would have been pleased to see him put in enough effort to reach that level. As he progressed through his youth career, I adjusted it to play at community College to D2 college. As he got better and older, I saw that low D1 could be an option. This allowed me mentally to enjoy the ride as a parent and let him take control of his soccer career. I've also learned over time that getting just to a low professional level takes massive amounts of luck in conjunction with training.
     
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  18. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    That's pretty cool. And where is he now?

    I'm def guilty of thinking my kid is really good. But every trainer or coach he's been in front of has said the same, so who really knows, are they just feeding my ego or are they being honest? I think each year it will become clearer. But for sure my kid is competitive; we've been around hundreds, maybe thousands of other kids and he's got that competitive spark and is very quick and good at dribbling. But sure... maybe he'll get sucked into video games and veer from real soccer. Gosh I will try to not let that happen.
     
  19. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Speaking as a parent to a HS Junior and HS Freshman, both playing Varsity soccer for the school and club soccer... it's not just the video games you need to worry about. Friends and socialization is a big deal from middle school on. Girl/Boyfriends is another big deal as is school work. Money comes into play. I know one player who dropped out two years ago, not because he wasn't good (he was), but he wanted a "normal" HS experience AND a job. He wanted to make money so he can do "fun" things. It's hard to do that when you're playing a sport 10-11 months out of the year.

    And when I say "worry", I don't mean you should really worry about it, but just know there are lots of things that can sideline a career.

    And yes, every coach/trainer my son has had says he's really good. Yes, it makes you feel good as a parent. But you're right, it doesn't really mean much.
     
  20. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Thanks for the insights. I would not be surprised if he gets distracted with those things. I know the chances of going pro are less than one in a million, so not something any parent should count on.

    My only hope for all kids is for them to reach their full potential.
     
  21. kinznk

    kinznk Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    He just turned 18 and I won't say where he is now because it comes across as bragging but to give a hint (he's far from famous) and provide some context I have read his name on a big soccer message board a few times, both being praised and criticized for his play by people I don't know.
     
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  22. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    Wait, the game isn't the best teacher? Has someone alerted USSF?
     
  23. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I get that.
    But one thing hit me the last game. My kid played the entire game. He's the smallest kid on the entire field, but pretty good. We had 4 subs.
    What hit me was - I could see how this could snowball into an unfair advantage. The best kids get the most playing time. So... they get better. So, they get more playing time, and get better. And on and on.
    Did you read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? He studied this. He noticed for example that in professional Hockey in Canada there were far more players born in the early months than later months. Why did it end up this way? Because of the age cutoff at the youth level. A 6yr old born in Jan is going to be bigger/faster than the 6 yr old born in December (if they were born the same year). The Jan 6 yr old has an 11 month head start in growth which at that age can be substantial.
    So... that kid is more likely to get selected for more play, plays amongst more elite players, gets more time, more training, which leads to more growth, and on and on.
    Anyways, I just had that epiphany last weekend, it seemed to be playing out right before my eyes.
     
  24. kinznk

    kinznk Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    What you say is true but I talked to him about that in a sense of perspective for what is happening. For example, he could have a good game at age 8 and score 10 goals and be really pleased. I'd tell him he played well, but nobody will care in 10 years how many goals he scored in a game 10 years ago, they will care about what you can do then. So despite being happy about scoring 10 goals there was still work to do. Conversley, when a bad game or loss happened, nobody will care if you got drubbed by Big Club FC, but what you have is 10 years to work on it whatever it was that contributed to the defeat. It was kind of how I kept him grounded and motivated.
     
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  25. saltysoccer

    saltysoccer New Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Mar 6, 2021
    Side comment: Malcolm Gladwell has made a career out of studying things that people in an area already knew, and then making it sound like he was the first person to notice it.

    The age cutoff thing is well known in youth sports as well as in school. In each case, kids get "tracked" too early, when 6–12 months is a big difference in development. If you cut out the "slower" kids early, you're basically giving up on a huge amount of potential that could pan out later, when things really matter, and when the 6 months' head start is long forgotten. By that stage, a true love of what you're doing and the willingness to work through adversity and pressure are going to matter a lot more than having been the best dribbler in U8 soccer.
     

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