Training exclusively for control or possession

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by bscinc, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Tampa
    Our youth soccer association has hired some new trainers, and their style of playing soccer and training has the parents in an uproar. I would like to get comments from anyone who has used or experienced this style of training to see if it does make kids better players.

    Basically they claim to be teaching the Argentine style of play. I am not sure if this is the correct name or not. What it entails is possession or control soccer. They believe and are teaching the boys and girls to make short passes only, 10 yards or less, and to keep possession of the ball while moving up the field. They do not like and will not train the kids in crosses, centers, break a way's, or any kicks longer than 10 yards. They do not like passes made in the air. They do not like to risk losing the ball. The only long kick or "ball in the air" kick they allow in training is for corner kicks, and we do very little of that. They also discourage punting by the goalie, and they prefer to have the goalie throw the ball to a back who then has to dribble and control the ball up the field.

    In fact the other day we almost lost a game because we missed two penalty kicks. The trainers do no penalty kick training.

    They also train exclusively on small fields, do constant and repetitive scrimmages in about the size of a penalty box, and do no drills or scrimmages that involve long runs or passes. Our kids do not seem as fast and as in shape as other teams who practice and play on bigger fields and do long kick and runs in practice.

    The new trainers claim that by teaching constant control, they are training the kids to be better ball handlers.

    I question whether we should only be training for control and none of the other plays ot tactics I mention above.

    I would love to hear from anyone that has done this style training and how well it has worked for their kids.

    I don't want to start a heated discussion on the benefits or detriments of crosses, etc. We all have opinions on that. I am just worried we are not teaching all of the skills and tactics our kids need to compete.

    One more example, my 10 year old's team was beat badly by a team that had centering down to an art. When I asked why we don't teaching centering, the trainers said they did not think 10 year old's could learn it. Obviously they are wrong since the other team we played used centering well.

    I am more seeking comments on whether or not our kids are being trained properly.

    Thanks.
     
  2. diablodelsol

    diablodelsol Member+

    Jan 10, 2001
    North Ridgeville, OH
    It does.

    Unfortunately, nothing in your remaining post indicates a desire on your part to have your 10 year old be a better soccer player. It indicates a desire to have your 10 year old on the team with the most wins in your league. It's truly a shame that too many parents think this way. Leave you kid where he is, he'll be a better player for it.
     
  3. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    The approach that your trainers are using will clearly help your kids improve their play. And I agree with diablodesol...winning at 9 years old or 10 years old is basically meaningless in the long-run development arc for your kids. Rehearsing penalty kicks, for example, is a poor use of precious training time for youngsters -- they need to work on run of play skills.

    At the same time, it is important for your team to play at a level where they do win SOME of the time, otherwise it won't be much fun for the kids. And at this age, it had better be fun.

    That being said, I am always a bit skeptical of one-dimensional solutions that are somehow "ideal" training setups. Wiel Coerver developed his "moves to beat a player" system as a reaction to the KNVB approach of almost exclusive small sided tactical play. So Coerver catalogued the moves, and had robotic lines of kids doing stepovers and cuts. Great stuff, but where was the passing?

    Meanwhile, KNVB's approach was very well-organized, with sound principles (such as "whenever, possible, make the longest forward on-the-ground-pass you can"), but where are the dribbling moves to beat an opponent??

    In the programs I've observed, good coaches work on a number of different aspects of the game, at an age appropriate level. Thus, few youngsters at U12 and below can actually cross the ball effectively on the run, so it's probably an inefficient use of time to do that . Yet even at very young ages, kids can learn good technique to send a flighted ball, even if they can't send one very far. Once they DO have the leg strength to do it, they will now have the correct technique imprinted.

    At younger ages, the most important things for kids to master are the technical skills -- dribbling at pace/with moves, receiving/good touch, passing, and striking a flighted ball. Heading and chesting can come later. Kids also need individual time on the ball, working on moves, turning with the ball, cutting, and shielding. Learning to deliver a good side of the foot pass is important, but clearly that is not sufficient.

    I have seen a lot coaching videos, and some of them are very good, and some are pretty bad. But one video I recommend to every PARENT is "Roger Wilkinson's--One on One Coaching, Parent and Child."

    In this video, Wilkinson, who for a time was a director of coaching for the New Zealand Federation, works one-on-one with his son, who appears to be a U11 of U12. Wilkinson covers the range of technical skills -- passes, dribbling, turning with the ball, shooting, receiving, the use of both feet. While his kid is, unsurprisingly, a very polished player for his age, these are the sorts of drills with the ball that, if done consistently over time, will enhance any player's technical skills.
     
  4. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Tampa
    You pre-judge my disposition. I am probably the last person on earth to care about scores and winning. What I care about is good soccer and good play, not scoring or winning.

    What worries me about the training is the lack of the following training (in no particluar order of importance):

    1. throw in's

    2. penalty kicks and defending against them

    3. defensive positioning, ie what if you are alone on defense and 1, 2, or 3 offensive players come at you. The same if there are two defensive players against 1, 2 or 3 offenders.

    4. corner kicks

    5. centering and defending against centering

    6. crossing and defending against crossing

    7. positioning on goal kicks and punts

    8. making long runs with a ball if you are a forward on a break a way

    9. what is offsides and how to prevent it if you are on the offense or use it if you are on the defense.

    10. etc, etc.

    I see these skills being used well by 10 year olds teams up to 15 year olds. My kids are in these ranges. And I see our teams, whether they are 10 or 15, getting out played. Out played to me is not just scorring, but stealing the ball, positioning to defend and to attack, making coordinated offense plays, knwoing when to pass and when to dribble around an opponent. Again we play many teams that can execute these skills.

    What we seem to have are kids that can dribble and control the ball, but can not make a coordinated attack or defense. Their positioning is terrible. Their throw ins weak or just plain bad. And this is true of the 15 year olds as well as the 10 year olds. We can move the ball down the field, only to have a forward try a ground shot from the corner flag. An old lady on crutches could defend against this.

    Typically is a 15 year old's game where we possess the ball for about 60% of the time and get only 3 good shots at the goal.

    I now dribbling is very important to soccer, but if a team keeps circling the penalty box and never can shoot, something is wrong.

    Another example: occasionally a ball will get past the last defender and one of our players will get a break a way. Invariably they can lose the bal because very few of our players can run fast and the shot. They trip on the ball, lose control of it, or shot from too far out and too weakly. Yet our trainers will not take 15 minutes in any practice to teach and practice this skill. If he ball gets out ahead of the defense, should we stop it and wait for the rest of our players to catch up so we have someone to pass too? I don't think anyone would recommend this, so why don't we occasionally practice a long run under pressure?

    It just seems to me there is more to soccer than dribbling. Yes you need it, but you need to be able to position yourself on the field according to the game. You need to be able to watch other players and anticipate their moves. You need to be able to learn to play as a coordinated team. You ought to be able to make a successful pass farther than 10 yards.

    I just don't see us doing this. But I do see other U10, U12, and U15 teams doing it. I think we should be practicing some of this skills and not just practicing dribbling for 3/4's of every practice. As one of the players asked me, "Why are we doing the same thing night after night?"
     
  5. dc1955

    dc1955 New Member

    Jul 10, 2003
    Q. “Why are we doing the same thing night after night?”

    A. Because, like vegetables, multiplication tables and reading, it’s good for you.


    I feel your pain. I hate to lose too. If it is any consolation, your son’s team isn’t getting beat by better soccer players. They are getting beat by better athletes. The style that you feel that that your trainers are neglecting places a high value on athleticism and little reliance on skill.

    Soccer skills are simple. All you need to know is how to dribble, trap, and pass the ball. That’s it. The problem is, it takes years of diligent practice to do it well. Your kids are lucky. They are getting an opportunity to start developing their skills early. Every minute that these players practice their dribbling is like money in the bank.

    The other things that you listed in like set pieces and defense are important for a complete “team” game, but are useless if the players cannot dribble, trap or pass the ball accurately. I think Karl is correct when he said that practice time, especially for U10s, is too precious to waste on this stuff.

    Teaching and learning how to play defense is tough. Much of the technique on defense is difficult to comprehend at 10 years old. I don’t even think the Italians teach defense to their 10 year olds.

    One last thought. The Game is the best teacher. So much of the techniques for specific situations, and are best learned not through instruction, but by playing the Game.

    You gotta trust the trainers. Otherwise you'll end up in the same boat as Daniel Snyder and Redskins ... constantly changing direction and getting no where.
     
  6. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    Well, there are things you should be worried about for kids at age 10, and things you should be worried about at age 15. They are often different since the age difference is huge.

    A 10 year old should learn the basic technique for thrown ins but little time should be spent on it. But if he doens't know how to do it by 15, well, then he has not been trained properly.

    Ten year olds can learn the basic, the very very basic, principles of defensive pressure/cover (or 1st and 2nd defender for the traditionalist). they should also know the difference between goalside and ball side. But that's it. Ten year olds should be spending NO time at all on offside traps. 15 year olds? There can be some more sophisticated defensive work done there, but the kids had better know how to make good combinations plays instinctively by then.

    Goal kicks are different issue. What you see at younger ages are weak kicks from the 6 that barely get out of the 18, are pounced on the by the opposition for a quick attack and score. Of course, that result bears ZERO relation to what REALLY happens in an older age soccer game, where goal kicks go the center circle and beyond. (I've always advocated having "goal" kicks at younger ages taken from the bottom of the center circle on the ground, but that's another subject). There it's worthwhile giving the kids some basic strategies for getting the ball up the field -- kick out to the side and up the field, or if men are covered wide, then diagonally away from center.

    But by 15, keepers should be taking goal kicks, and they should be going to the center circle.

    Are you saying that your trainers, at all ages, even at age 15, are doing NO practice at shooting/finishing?

    I guess I find that hard to believe.
     
  7. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Tampa
    Our club is known as the no shot club. None of our teams take many shots at the goal. We do not practice shooting except as a coach sneeks it into practice. The trainers think shooting is an individual skill best learned outside of practice.

    It has been this way for 3 years for the 15 year old team. They had one of the trainers start with the 15 year old team 3 years ago and work just on them, and that trainer is now in charge of all training. In 3 years the 15 year old team has not practiced crossing, centering, or break a way's at all. Not once. They have practiced corner kicks once a year for 15 minutes. They used to practice finishing more their first year together, than less last year. And this year they have had no finishing training at all.

    I see there are many deficiencies in our teams, but usually at a game there will be one or two that a whole team exhibits. Sometimes it is receiving and controlling the ball. Sometimes it is not looking up to pass the ball. Sometimes it is incorrect positioning or prhaps failing to pressure the other team when they have the ball. Our trainers will only work on the glaring deficiency if it involves controlling, dribbling or short passes. They do not spend a minute on anythng else.

    For example our 15 year old team has never practiced receiving punts. We have a very good punter who kicks the ball extremely high and long, probably the highest and longest in the 15 year group in our division. We can not receive his punts. We never practice it. This perhaps is a minor skill in the whole game of soccer, but controlling the ball out of the air is a skill kids need. We never practice it because the trainers do not like air balls nor like long punts.

    By the way he learned to punt from his school coaches, not our club trainers. The trainers want him to do short throws and short goal kicks. Again since we never practice these on a large field, our boys are not as aggressive as other teams at running to the ball. We lose about half of the throws or goal kicks on our side of the field either before we get a touch on then or within one player receiving the ball. His mom has encouraged him to kick long just so the other team doesn't steal the ball at the top of his 18 and make a shot. I know a lot of people don't like the tactic of long punts or goal kicks because you give up control, but as his mom puts it, better to give up conrol by kicking the ball into the other team's half then giving up control at our 18.

    Similarly the trainers refuse to work on problems on other teams unless the problems involve control and dribbling. My daughter's 12 year team can not make receive a thrown in. Of 21 throw ins they had the last game, 15 were knocked out of bounds by our own players. The ball was thrown at chest or stomach level as the player was right on the line. It would seem to me that a little practice time ought to be spent on this problem; not a lot but some. But the trainers say control is everything. They say the girls will learn throw ins on their own. I can tell you I have watched them for 2 years, and they have not learned how to deal with this. The only girls that don't do it are the ones who have their dads or moms spend a little extra time showing them the correct way to receive a throw in.

    And there are many other examples like this. I know control and dribble is very important to soccer, but not to the exclusion of other skills.

    Our trainers keep saying when we complain that once the boys have dribbling and control down, we will move on, but I don't see them doing this with the older teams. Even the older teams are doing nothing at practice except dribbling and control.

    Maybe for the younger ones this is not a problem and actually is desirable, but I think it is about time for the older kids to have some tactical play other than dribbling and control added to their practices.
     
  8. dc1955

    dc1955 New Member

    Jul 10, 2003
    You win. You have my permission to fire the trainers. They clearly do not understand the American Style. (The one that led us to a spectacular third place finish in the last Womens WC).

    If you can't fire the coach find a new club. Possession is way over rated.
     
  9. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    IOWA
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Having fun is NOT overrated. If the kids aren't having fun, it's time to move on. It's fun to improve, learn new skills, and do different activities. As a rec coach, who occasionally used a pro coach to run practice, it's great for the kids to have a different perspective. Some coaches are flexible and enthusiastic, and can keep kids learning, improving, and having fun. Some just blow the whistle and do the same things over and over.
     
  10. dc1955

    dc1955 New Member

    Jul 10, 2003
    Do you think practicing throw-ins is fun? How about practicing break-aways? 90% of soccer is passing and receiving the ball. If that's not FUN than soccer is not FUN.
     
  11. Bleacherbutt

    Bleacherbutt New Member

    May 1, 2001
    Rochester, NY
    First, I love the short passing game for its simplicity and beauty. But, the short game is just a tool in a toolbox. You have to use something other than a hammer to install a new faucet. These guys act like they only have one tool in the box (fortunately, they have chosen soccer's version of the Delux Leatherman.)

    Unfortunately, playing competitive soccer and developing is a lot more complex than that. I would liken it to solving jigsaw puzzles on a table that is constantly in motion. I tell my players you have to figure out how to put all the pieces together--when do you play your style, when to defend the other team's strengths, coping with referee and facility issues, dealing with the elements, how do you gain tactical advantage on throw-ins and free kicks, etc.

    It sounds like the group training your kids wants that table to be still. I admire their adherence to their beliefs, but there is so much more to the game than the 10-yard pass. It's also very easy to play the one-note. I would imagine practice planning is very simple for these guys since they just want possession. I personally think they are displaying a arrogance by not changing with conditions that are presented in a game. It also sounds like they are a tad bit arrogant or lazy-- or they are possibly using their arrogance to hide their laziness. I am also alarmed that there is no progression of thought/skills as the kids move up in age groups.

    With my U-10's during indoor training we worked on foot skills, playing for possession as well as 1st and 2nd defender. We pretty much stuck with that diet until the season began. During games, I just let them play and we added a new wrinkle each week at practices to address their deficiencies after the games. My girls were dyn-o-mite last year--they always solved the puzzle each and every game. To show that you can play possession and score--we scored 64 goals on 137 shots last year. It can be done. The girls were also not too shabby on the defensive side of the ball--they game up just 12 goals in 20 games and EVERY girl played at least one game in goal. In my book, player development needs to include a winning/problem solving attitude not just jaw-dropping footskills. Knocking the ball around on ten yard kicks sounds like it's not working for your child.

    My recommendation is to look for another club if you are dissatisfied.
     
  12. old boy

    old boy New Member

    Jul 8, 2003
    Maine
    You kept track of shots on goal for a U10 team! Keeping score at that age is a waste of time, let alone shots.

    Who are the greatest soccer playing nation?

    Brazil, no one else is close.

    What do they do at the ten year old level which makes them great players later on?

    They play small sided games on small "fields" (often the streets of the favelas) usually without coaches, to develop the amazing ball skills which have led them to five World Cup wins. Very rarely is score kept. Shots are never counted!

    While the "American style" got the USMNT through to the WC quarter finals, it was the Brazilians that won. Who better to emulate?

    Practice time is too valuable to spend on things like throw-ins. Fifteen minutes spent at the age of eight should suffice for the next ten years. Throw-ins, sending & receiving long kicks or punts and crossing/heading can be worked on with a very few players (three at the most) outside of practice. A player, a ball and a wall is the best way to practice throw-ins. Ball skills and short passes are best worked on in a group setting.

    I disagree with the approach to finishing, though. It too is best learned in a group. But only after the skills to do so having been assimilated at about the age of twelve.

    Sounds to me like the kids are not playing much outside of practise. If soccer is fun to them, they will want to play whenever they can.
     
  13. Bleacherbutt

    Bleacherbutt New Member

    May 1, 2001
    Rochester, NY
    Well I didn't, one of my parents did. Let's just say we disagree. We found it very useful to know who was shooting and from where. It was also useful to know who the opposing shooter is so pressure can be put on her a little sooner.






    Who are the greatest soccer playing nation?

    Brazil, no one else is close.

    What do they do at the ten year old level which makes them great players later on?



    Yeah, I just build an open air sewer in my subdivision and encourage the poorly shod street urchins to join in. Sorry I just had to play the ugly American card. What I said was absurd--it looks like we tied in that department.


    We disagree here,too. This is an opportunity to teach the girls how create and find space using once the most accurate passes you can make. This is a perfect opportunity for receivers to show for the ball, check back to create space or to run onto a ball behind the defense. The key is getting the thrower to read the receiver's wishes. Throw-ins are also the best way to add a vertical element to the younger player's game. We work on three types of throws (inconjunction with receiving and turning drills) over the year...a flat bullet throw for distance behind the defense, a lob past the defense and a controlled accurate throw to our players' feet.

    It would be great if that was always the case. I think there are too many distracations and conflicting demands for alot of the kids in the U.S.
     
  14. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Playing Outside Practice

    With whom, pray tell?

    By the time you get to 5th grade (where my son is), you're down to perhaps 1 boy in 100 who is a real soccer player. By real player, I mean a guy with skills who will happily play soccer in his spare time, rather than do PlayStation or basketball or watch TV.

    Which means that the nearest real soccer player that is my kid's age is about 1 mile away, and the nearest within 2 years of him is still several blocks away.

    My kid gets his nonclub soccer in, but even that is highly organized -- structured play dates, dad sets aside time for 1 vs. 1 competition, small-field tournaments, organized sessions where his club teammates just get together and play, etc.

    In Europe, this stuff just happens. My kid had a blast jumping into impromptu park games. He is very, very jealous of the opportunities the kids have in Europe. In most of the U.S., fat chance. If the kid is to play outside practice, both the kid and parents need to plan out that activity.
     
  15. dc1955

    dc1955 New Member

    Jul 10, 2003
    Re: Playing Outside Practice

    Maybe your kid should play with the pretend soccer players that are available. I don't believe that the European kids that play in parks have segregated themselves by skill or age level. I think "select/travel" designation of players as early as 8 years old has created this notion that there is an elite class of youth soccer player and playing with kids of lower skill will hurt the prodigy's game.

    Why should every soccer encounter be a positive learning experience? I too, am a parent that is distressed by the lack of spontaneous play. I think part of the problem is that in our effort to maximize our time we have turned soccer into a very school-like experience. Many kids see soccer as piano lessons that my parents think will make me a well rounded adult. Not as something that is fun (ie. spontaneous and something that I have some controll over).

    I have seen a tremendous improvement in the quality of soccer played in this country since I was a kid in the sixties. What I fear is that we will hit a wall in player development. I think we will become like the East German Olympic Baseball Team. Technically correct in form and tactics, but lacking creativity and passion needed to be the best.


    BTW I think old boy is a wise old boy. I totally agree with his post.
     
  16. greenbill

    greenbill New Member

    Apr 30, 2003
    York, PA
    Sounds like your kid's trainers are doing the right thing. And I'm not talking about winning vs. losing, beautiful vs. boring soccer, or athleticism vs. skill. I'm talking about kids just having fun and learning to love the game. I don't know about everyone else, but when I was a kid, I loved practicing moves, beating people on the dribble in tight quarters, slide tackling, etc. Its just fun! I cringed when I saw a youth girls' team practicing on a field next to my men's league game this summer. The coach had them in a line doing dribbling skill drills up and down the field...yuck! :(
     
  17. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Re: Re: Playing Outside Practice



    Are you kidding? The pretend players don't play at all unless you give them a uniform. I'm saying that in this neighborhood there are 1 in 100 kids that are willing to play street soccer, for more than 5 minutes.

    No, that's not quite true. A couple of my son's friends will play soccer with him because they know he loves the sport. But they wouldn't otherwise play soccer, they just do it to be nice to him.

    So that makes 3 out of 100.

    By the way, these numbers were about 50 out of 100 in first grade. Soccer is very much every kid's sport in first grade. By 5th grade, forget it, another niche sport along with hockey and tennis.

    No, they haven't. I talked to these parents. Most of these kids weren't on fancy teams, sometimes not any team at all.

    Most of 'em were as good or better than the typical U.S. travel team soccer player, however.
     
  18. old boy

    old boy New Member

    Jul 8, 2003
    Maine
    Aside from dragging myself or my wife out of bed at dawn, my now high school aged daughter found a couple of friends to kick the ball around with during recess or after school. She arranged play dates and would tag along anytime I went to play. Occasionally, she could get her younger sister to play.

    Failing anything else, or more accurately in addition to anything else, she would hit the ball against the side of the house. By doing so she developed the ability to strike and receive the ball. She could also throw the ball against the wall & receive it. She would turn her back to the wall, back heel the ball & turn to receive it. Like tennis or baseball players practicing against the wall, she would make up her own little games. She has grown to enjoy the "me time" and will resent it if she is interrupted. With four and five year-old brothers who now play, me time is pretty limited.

    By the way, my thirteen-year old daughter, who has always preferred basketball to soccer because she is tall and has wanted to be different from her "big" sister, confided to me at a high school playoff game the other day that she intends to play soccer in high school next year. Watching a couple of badly conceeded goals convinced her that she can do better. She's been out taking shoots the last couple of days and when I told her that I'd get her some gloves and pads if she's this serious, she declined. She says she wants to toughen herself up first...yikes!
     
  19. MrSangster

    MrSangster Member

    Feb 16, 1999
    Duxbury,MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree with the way that your team is being trained. I coach a u-12 team and have been stressing ball control for 2 years. They can also play "long" and I frequently work on practices which feature short-short-long passing drills.

    My teams that play ball control can also play a "direct" or long ball game. Teams that only play long ball cannot play possession. I prefer that my teams "control the ball, control the game." Passing to feet instead of passing to space. Although, there is a time and place when a long ball is appropriate.

    We won (6-2) our most recent game against an older (u-14), larger, more physical , direct style team. They could not trap a ball out of the air and their attack was to simply "Boot it." We drove them nuts by passing around them. If the attack has been stymied, my boys had the patience to bring the ball back to my sweeper or goalkeeper and rebuild the attack. The coach for the other team said it was the worst beating they they had in 2 years and they were totally frustrated.

    Stick with it. You may not win games this seaon. Or next. But, they will become better players and a better team in the not too distant future.
     
  20. dasoccerplayafosho

    Jun 30, 2003
    Utah USA
    Yes, what would we do without the great american style that causes U-10 players to play it like a football receiver going down the line for a pass, having a player kick the ball as hard as he can down the field and having others chase it and hopefully (dont ask me how) learn better ball control, and more skills. Yes. It is great.

    WE should burn the american style, and burn its ashes.
     
  21. Eliezar

    Eliezar Member+

    Jan 27, 2002
    Houston
    Club:
    12 de Octubre
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    And I would have quit playing before I hit 11 if we weren't keeping score. In fact, I can remember not playing "spring season" because there were no standings and no winners and playing baseball and basketball instead. Once we got to U10 select I played year round. Its not like my parents didn't want me to play, but what fun is it to run around and not try to win? When we played on the street we still tried to win and kept score.
     
  22. old boy

    old boy New Member

    Jul 8, 2003
    Maine
    Keeping score is a waste of time! No one remembers it a year later. The kids know if they were better than the other team and half of them will be keeping score in their heads anyway. Declaring a winner and a loser is more for the parents and some kids who are stuck on the American mentality of always having a winner and loser.

    They don't grasp that you play "the beautiful game" just for the fact that it is beautiful. You are not just "running around" if you don't keep score. The point of the game is to score goals - in the most beautiful way possible. All goals are not created equal.

    But if you keep score, then if one team is blowing the other out, it's only good sportsmanship to ease up. Why? Easing up doesn't make either team better. Most youth teams will lose while they are learning to play possession because they attempt to trap the ball instead of booting it and end up giving the ball away too often. If having fun is the point, then why have one team feel bad.

    We know what is bad about keeping score; so what is good? It's going to keep one misguided kid playing? I'll bet that extra season of basketball really helped your soccer!

    You want to have fun playing? Play "most beautiful goal wins". It causes the players to try things they normally wouldn't and makes them better players. Oh..yeah...and it is fun!
     

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