Should kids get equal playing time?

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

  1. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    #51 NewDadaCoach, Mar 18, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
    "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.
     
  2. saltysoccer

    saltysoccer New Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Mar 6, 2021
    Age advantage will be a lot tinier in a few years when everyone has gotten past their growth spurts. By then it's going to matter a lot more which kid loves the sport enough to have been working on it all this time, even through significant adversity. The kid who works hard from U8 through U16 is going to surpass the kid who was brilliant at U8 but only still played the sport past U10 because they thought their soccer parents wanted them to play. I've seen plenty of examples of that around here (including, or even especially, coaches' kids).


    Your kid sounds like a great little player, and of course seeing that must feel good for your pride as a parent, but it's just wrong to play another kid very little in a U8 game just because they're inexperienced.

    Suppose your kid keeps getting better and gets put on a true "select" or "elite" team at U10. How would you view it if your kid spent all his time on the bench because he's still not all that big compared to the starter who might not even be as good but is 9 months older, 30 lbs heavier and can muscle more opponents off the ball leading to a better scoreline? I mean, if anything there's a better argument for having to earn playtime in a truly "competitive" setting, right?
     
  3. TheKraken

    TheKraken Member

    United States
    Jun 21, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes good advice. I love watching other games going on that I have nothing to do with. You get to see what else is out there. You will see some special players on not so great of teams. You will also see some great teams without any special players. Some teams are just extremely well coached. The fact is there are a lot of good players, but not a lot of elite talent. When you see it, you know. We're not ECNL, but we play against teams in that league a lot in tournaments. I can count on one hand the number of kids I've seen that I thought might be pro material, even in those higher leagues. The best of the best are usually snatched up though by pro academies by U15.
     
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  4. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Well yeah I guess I agree that it's wrong to play a kid few minutes, but I would only disagree in extreme cases like where the kid is clearly lost/just standing there with no clue what to do. I think that is a case where the kid needs to ease into soccer in a more gentle setting.

    To be honest if my kid were on a team and sitting the bench mostly, I would take him off the team. I think there is an ideal amount of pressure for a kid to learn. Not too little, not too much. Like lifting weights, you don't go from 100lbs to 200lbs. You go from 100lbs to 105lbs, etc. You want some stress, but not too much.
     
  5. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Just giving you a heads up... once your child makes a select team, you're going to put out a LOT of money (probably at least $1500/year plus uniform, plus assessments, etc). If you pull your kid from a team, you give up that money PLUS your child won't be able to play for another team unless the first club "releases" them.

    If you child is sitting on the bench more than what you'd like, the best thing to do is AFTER A PRACTICE, have your child talk to the coach about what they need to do to get more playing time. If the child is ~12 or under, MAYBE you have the conversation, but the player should be there too.

    If your child is on a select team, they're not going to be lost/just standing on the field. They may be slow in getting places, they maybe slow in deciding what to do, but they really shouldn't be lost.
     
  6. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    My kid needs to be playing at least half of each game at his age level or else he's in the wrong sport in my opinion. I would probably just then put him on a rec team for fun if he wants to stay in it or just nudge him into a different activity or have him focus on academics.
    But for now I forsee him playing up a year for a while based on his skill. But I guess that could change at some point if he hits a lull.

    The only thing that would keep him back is if he just doesn't play/practice enough but I don't see that happening. But I do wish there were more kids around here for him to play with; now, mostly we have to drive.
    I have realized recently that development is largely dependent on the ecosystem a kid is in; that ecosystem includes things like available spaces to play, time and encouragement from elders, peers very nearby who also like to play. This is why kids in urban areas in England and Brazil have a big advantage. They can just walk out their front door and in 5 minutes be at a park where all the neighbor kids are playing. And they also play during recess at school. At my kid's recess they mostly play football, baseball, basketball I've noticed.
     
  7. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    :thumbsup:
     
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  8. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Is this supposed to be some kind of "gotcha" post? "See, you agree kids sitting on the bench is not good."?

    I've never said differently. The more playing time the better. But there is SOME reason your son didn't get the playing time you want.

    From your OP in this thread...
     
  9. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I was just happy to find something we agree on. Finally!

    Sure there's probably a reason; but whatever the reason, it's not acceptable to have a kid sit. Any family who puts in the effort go show up... don't ruin their damn experience by sitting the kid. jesus these are 7 yr olds
     
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  10. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    And yeah I'm not against some kids getting more.
    Each kid needs to get between 50% and 100%.
    But no kid can get less than 50%.
    Ie, not expecting equal time for all players.
    But am expecting at least 50% of game time.
     
  11. Fuegofan

    Fuegofan Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Chicago
    To revive this discussion, but to move it away from the littles, I'm thinking that I'm hearing "at the older ages it's fine to have kids play less than 50% of a game." Is that really what people think?

    My son is U11. He's at a club that, IMO, is huge. There are five teams at his birth year alone. So there is a lot of variation of skill set. And the more I see, the more I question that assumption that at the more competitive ages, which is the older ages, that playing time can go down if ...? What if performance goes down? To me that doesn't make much sense if the point is development. At a large club, with yes, everyone at the top teams paying significantly over $2000 per player, we're still paying for development, right? And players won't develop if they aren't a) putting in the time on their own, b) going to practice and being focused, and c) making it to games and getting a chance to play in games.

    I have heard of teams of U13 flying across the country and then some players play less than 45 minutes over three games. How is that o.k. assuming that a, b, and c are happening? Frankly, I could care less if the team wins, as long as each of the kids is getting a chance to play. After age 13, what's the amount of dropoff of players in the country? Could it be that the clubs are so focused on winning that they stop worrying about the development of the kids who aren't getting it for awhile? And then those kids drop off?

    I'm thankful that my son is getting playing time. And I think that he's in a good spot (not the top top team, but trying to push in). The club he's at is fairly open. But I have seen coaches set up things so that their team will win by, say, pulling a player from another part of the club (it's in multiple cities) and having giant squads for one team and it makes me nervous.
     
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  12. NoVa.Dad

    NoVa.Dad Member

    Real Madrid
    United States
    Nov 19, 2018
    You have to remember that travel soccer is a business and you are the paying customer. So, yes I believe that players need playing time. You are paying the club to develop your player.
     
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  13. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I agree that overall the emphasis should be on development over winning... but even within that scope... as the age levels rise... I can see the formulation for play time change a bit... should merit be a factor? I don't think it's unreasonable.

    Anyone who flies I think should get a decent amount of minutes. At least 30% each game. But hey, what do I know, I'm new to club soccer. But that just seems fair at a gut level
     
  14. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I wonder though... do even some parents emphasize winning?
     
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  15. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Let's flip the discussion. How much time should everyone get? I don't think 50% is realistic in a competitive club. But I agree 25% is too little. U13 (the age the PP puts out) is 35 minute halves. Three games w/35 minute halves is 210 minutes. 45 minutes out of that would be 21%. I would want to know WHY my child is only getting 20% of the playing time. BUT, this is a discussion that needs to happen with the player and coach with the parent listening.

    Is it solely because the other players are better? What does the athlete need to do to get more playing time? To a certain extent, PT should be EARNED. But yes, more playing time is better.

    And yes, some parents emphasize winning.
     
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  16. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't wonder--they absolutely do. And coaches know this--most parents care more about winning than development (although, of course, they want their kid getting playing time). It's the fatal weakness of our pay-to-play 'system.'
     
  17. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Agree that in a competitive club some kids will play a lot more than others, particularly as they get older. Parents and players have to figure out what's an acceptable level.

    My son plays off the bench more than he starts on his team. He usually gets about half a game when he comes off the bench, but he can play in several positions so he has more options. We've talked about (and he and a teammate on the bench have discussed) dropping down to a B team or looking for a different club, but he thinks playing/practicing with stronger players makes him better. So he sticks with it.

    He guest-played on a B team a few months back at a tournament multiple states away and it was painful to watch a couple of kids on the bench who didn't play the whole weekend. I heard through the grapevine recently that at least one of them didn't come back to club soccer this year. I can't say I blame him.
     
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  18. MySonsPlay

    MySonsPlay Member

    Liverpool FC
    United States
    Oct 10, 2017
    #68 MySonsPlay, Nov 18, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
    These are the truest words I have ever seen on a soccer forum!!
     
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  19. soccerdad72

    soccerdad72 Member

    Chelsea
    United States
    Apr 5, 2021
    At younger ages (e.g. U12-U14), the clubs we've played with usually made a point of saying that the expectation should be that league games would be for development (e.g. everyone should play reasonable amount of minutes) and tournaments were for winning, meaning some players might not play much.

    At the high school level, there really aren't a lot of "tournaments", per se, aside from state cup and regional championships, but a lot of showcases, so I haven't seen a lot of situations of players sitting a lot. Some of it is position based. My son usually plays center back, so he normally doesn't come off the field. His roster last year had one or two defensive subs, so they would rotate them through the outside back positions, but the center backs stayed put mostly. Mids and forwards all seem to rotate a fair amount.

    I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but my son's had a few friends who played in the academy system and more than a few quit when they flew out to a showcase/tournament and often either didn't come off the bench at all or played 5 minutes. That's a quick way to trim your roster.
     

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