"If you cut out the "slower" kids early, you're basically giving up on a huge amount of potential that could pan out later," Yes that is Gladwell's point "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" I don't think that is always true (again Gladwell illustrates that). Of course, there are many factors in how things pan out for a kid, but one of those factors is the age advantage, all else equal. In our case, my kid played the entire game. The least experienced kid played very little. (note: I actually wished he had taken out my kid some). Then, right after the U8 was the same coach's U10 game and my kid played a few minutes on the U10 team. I mean, here we have the smallest kid in U8 (at least that day, 18 or so players between both teams and he was smallest) play in U10... I was just hoping none of those kids were to fall on him and squish him like a bug. Now if this occurs week after week I don't think the cumulative experience would be immaterial in the long run.