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Thread: At what age should kids sports change

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    Member Array title="mark0933 is an unknown quantity at this point">
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    At what age should kids sports change

    Ok, I've been around here a long time, don't post much but do value most of your opinions.

    At what age (or grade if you like) should youth football go from a developmental approach (not all kids play exactly equally necessarily but playing time based on effort, not genetics) to more "professional" play all the best (depth chart) type system?

    I coach the very youngest age (6-9 year olds) and so I have players with very varied skill and size levels. My goal is safety first, but then to find every player on my teams a position which they can succeed at and balance the whole team - its not easy but is rewarding. I put kids in triangles with 2 of the 3 players in any triangle being stronger and the other being a developmental player (or a weaker player). One such triangle is OLB, CB and Safety on each side of the field other is ILB DE and DT for example. So I can put 4 weaker kids on the field with 8 stronger kids at any point in time and have the field "covered"

    I know other coaches who have the "win at all cost" mentality even at my kids age so play starters and have bench back-ups and they have much higher "quit ratio" than I do, but am I truly doing my non-athletes any favors because as they get older eventually the love of the game isn't enough and size and skill eventually pushes the non-athletes out of the sport.

    I don't believe in participation trophies for all, but I do believe that kids would rather actually see the field on a losing team, than be bench warmers on a winning team and that losing builds character too.

    Ok, now that I've said that, please answer away.


    Mark


    PS - In all fairness, my son is one of these non-athletes (whom I have not coached for quite a few years) and I am struggling with the transition of his team from developmental to "genetics based" playing time and I have no answer for him other than our genetics suck and eventually we all stop playing.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array title="Born2Steel has a reputation beyond repute"> Born2Steel's Avatar

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    Re: At what age should kids sports change

    Interesting question and the answer is multi-layered and kid specific. I have had the absolute pleasure of coaching youth football ages 6 to 12. The football side of things never changes. Teach fundamentals and proper technique. The kids will advance at their own pace. No such thing as a kid that can’t play at that age. I had a kid one year that was very much on the spectrum and was a behavioral nightmare at times, but we found a way to get him playing time. Some kids don’t actually want to be there at all but parents insist. Those are the tough decisions and can only be decided on an individual basis. I don’t do this any more because all ball is run by the school system in my town now.

    Sounds like you have a system and a plan in place. You know your kids. As long as the ones that want to be there are getting the most out of it they can, that’s the best job. The competitive nature of things is already there.

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