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Is your child one of the smallest in the team and are they one of the smallest each week when you arrive at match day? If so there may be some useful tips here to help you navigate what is potentially an area riddled with issues.
Do you as a coach have children in your group who really struggle with the physical demands of the sport you are coaching them?
The first thing to state here is that sport is a marathon and not a sprint. Much has been made about early representative selection and it is no surprise that these early representative teams are dominated by children born in the first quarter of the sporting year. For football in the UK that would mean being born between September and November and for Ice Hockey in the USA born between January and March.
These children through no fault of their own are at a huge advantage and some may well be as much as 11 months older and more physically developed than some of their counterparts.
There has been a lot of criticism of this early representation, many upset that these children through genetics and luck get access to the best coaching, the best facilities and the best environments at a younger age. However, if you have the small child take some consolation in the following:
Of all the boys who enter a football academy at the age of 9, less than half of 1% will make it. The early developers success rate in the long run is very low.
In the England rugby squad over the last few years there has been an even split of players from each quarter of the sporting year highlighting the importance of not placing too much significance at an early age on where your child stands in the pecking order.
With this in mind, how do you cope with your child struggling physically, getting knocked around a bit, always looking that yard slower than some of the others? Well the answer is you probably don’t deep down. It is tough for a parent to watch and none of us like to see our children struggle.
How do we as coaches, ensure that we meet the needs of these players during our sessions and matches?
Here I have some useful tips to help manage the smaller child as a parent or coach
There are a few things that you probably want to avoid in the early stages of managing the smaller child:
I hope that you have found the above useful and that you can start adding some of the strategies into your weekly routine to ensure that your smaller child(potentially a later developer) can still harness the same enjoyment from their sporting experience as the older, more physically mature child. At the end of the day all of these children should be having fun and enjoying their whole sporting experience.
If you enjoyed this you can find all my other ConnectedCoaches blogs here. You can find out more about me by visiting my profile.
A bit of a slight detour, but your following sentence got me thinking:"Of all the boys who enter a football academy at the age of 9, less than half of 1% will make it. The early developers success rate in the long run is very low."What is "making it"? Statistically, there are far more opportunities to make a decent living as a footballer than many (any?) other sport simply because the money goes so deep. For example, the 200th best goalkeeper in England is probably earning a decent living at a league 2 club somewhere. The 200th best 60m sprinter in the indoor season just finished was about 0.2s off even getting an invite to the national championships.
I think when loosely using the term, 'making it' I refer to those who can potentially make a comfortable living from just playing the game as professionals. I agree there are potentially more places to go around in football, but there is also more people playing the game so it still balances up.
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