Many clubs place players on teams based on various school catchment areas or group kids with their friends. While this might be beneficial in terms of organization, we must ask if this is the best way to develop our players as they enter the key development years of 7-9.
Most can relate to watching mini soccer and seeing that 3 or 4 players dominate in game situations, leaving other players to rarely touch the ball. Placing these players in another division, would allow for the remaining players to get more involved, take on more leadership roles and acquire more interest. Further, it allows for more touches on the ball, which supports skill development.
With a wide range of abilities in mixed groups, coaches can find it challenging to find activities that engage all players on the team. This can lead to the content being too difficult for some and too simple for others. By grouping players with similar ability, coaches will be able to deliver activities at a pace that will meet their players’ needs. In this way, instruction is differentiated, meeting players at their level with the goal of moving them along the continuum of Long Term Player Development.
The issue of unbalanced teams is one that many clubs have to deal with. There are teams of players that go through a season with very little success, leaving players, parents and coaches discouraged. This can lead to problems of player and coach retention. Having teams of players with similar abilities would help to alleviate these issues.
The goal of ability based teams is to allow all players to play at their skill and confidence level. We want all players to be challenged, to build their skills and to enjoy their playing experiences. We wish to provide coaches with technical support to ensure they are meeting the needs of their players. We believe that providing children with the opportunity to play with and against those of similar ability will enhance both player and coach development.
At this stage coaches and technical staff will focus on the principles set out in “Learn to Train”, the third stage of the Long Term Player Development Model (set out by the CSA). Basic principles of play, training ethic, decision making, environmental awareness and discipline will be focused on.
Players also have the opportunity to join extra training through Poco Euro-Rite FC Player Academy (Click HERE)