DOC Note 30 April

Early Selection: Just in time for tryouts and selection of teams for end of season tournaments, the latest issue of Soccer Journal published a great article about early selection. “The Myth of Early Selection”. In this article the author frames out the pitfalls of early selection based on performance early (before puberty). The studies show that selection and separation at the early years may actually be counterproductive to development. The selection or non-selection of your soccer star this year is clearly not an indicator of his or her lot in life. “The learning curves, physiological growth curves, attitudes, health, commitment, psychology – they are all too unpredictable.”  The process if not run by those focused on development more than winning today becomes a selection focused on attributes to make a strong team for the young players game. Small fields and big goals mean if you pick to win you watch those with big boots and fast feet. Anyone who has read Malcolm Gladwell,  on average, this means those players born in January to March. The reason, we at Burke will make selections at Age Group and with trainer assistance, is that we will look for those that are mentally as well as physically ready for a weekend of play in the tournament whirlwind during regular play to minimize the pressure and stigma of selection. Our goal is long term development and a positive experience.  We to have to find players that show enough ability such that the weekend of play against teams who select to win is not demoralizing. The players have to have mental readiness to be able to take direction from possibly different coach and a desire to play an extra week of soccer and 4 games in a weekend. So how do we frame the end of season tournament for our 8 to 11-year-old players. First be honest with your player about the weekend tournament and what it means. It is a fun exciting weekend with an opportunity to play with friends and others when combined is expected to be at a higher level of technical and tactical play. Just because our players are selected, they are not destined to play with Messi. Conversely if not selected, they shouldn’t quit soccer and take up golf. It is one weekend of soccer with many more opportunities to come. Second, we at BAC don’t have a tryout. There is no single event that they have thrust upon them where a do or not do performance makes the selection. Our players just get to play and work hard at practice no extra stress

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