This is the last weekend of league play in our area. It’s great to see the players really starting to understand the key aspects of the game that we’ve been focusing on. They’re not always getting it right but seeing them work hard to play the game in the right way is always very satisfying.
Not all of my teams will win the league this season. That’s not the most important measuring stick. Seeing their progress and constant improvement makes the long hours of training and playing worth the effort.
This week’s question comes from Matthew. He asks about playing up.
“My son, Peter is 8 years old and born in August 2009. He has played up a division for the last 3 years. When he began playing it was under the school calendar rules and he was extremely dominant so I moved him up and he was not really that far off age wise from the kids he played with. After the inception of the pure age guidelines it stretched out the age gap a bit.
Peter continued to play up and he was still very dominant and still a top player on his team. I’ve noticed now at the u10/u11 age groups there is beginning to be a physical development gap. Even in the area of skill and technical ability players are catching him and in some areas even surpassed him.
Peter has raw ability, an advanced sense of how to play the game, and above average technical ability but I’ve noticed that maybe he has stagnated and maybe slightly regressed in some areas. I am wondering if at this juncture maybe it would be better to play his true age? Where do you fall on players playing up and when is time to go back to their true age?”
Thanks for the question Matthew!
This is a great question. I think you move Peter back to his age group if playing up is no longer helping him advance his skills and understanding of the game. Just because it was best for him to play up before doesn’t mean he should always continue to play up.
You should also look at what options he has in his own age group. Is there a team that will challenge him and help him to continue to develop? If there is then I think it’s easy, have him play with them. If not, he may be better off by continuing to play up.
In This Episode
I’ve had time to process the fact that we will not be in the 2018 World Cup. I’ve listened to the soccer pundits and the general media talk about what they think caused us to fail to qualify and what needs to change. Today I’m ready to share my thoughts on what happened and where we go from here.
Here’s an opinion piece by Jonny Carter on who’s to blame for the U.S. not going to the 2018 World Cup
Next week I’ll share some ways to add complexity to technical training activities that will force your players to think quickly and react to passive pressure.