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I was watching the Women’s world Cup last night as Germany stuck 10 past Ivory Coast. The typical refrain from pundits is that teams will only get better by playing the best. But is this true? Does being badly beaten by superior teams make you better? As a coach what can you say to your players?
I was having this conversation with some colleagues yeterday when the England Cerebal Palsy football team beat Japan CP 14-0 in the CP World Cup.
There is a big difference between getting beat by big scorelines in elite sport and at grassroot youth sport. I saw on twitter a few people commenting that the England CP team didnt show respect in the second half as they continued to run the score up from half time score of 9-0. But surely if they would have easied off and taken it easy on Japan than that would have been a lack of respect?
For grassroots youth sport I do not believe we should be in situations where huge scorelines are created. This will not support the long term development of anybody. The winning team will find it difficult later in their sporting journey when they lose, as they have been so used to winning. The losing team will find it hard to motivate themselves to continue in the sport. I often challenge coaches who find themselves dominating opponents in games to play with less players and ensure players play in different positions.
I think I may have already posted this video previously, but a great story about a spanish youth football team.....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76FEWcyFCwM.
As coaches we need to understand why kids play sport. They want to win but it is not the ultimate reason.
Largely agree with you Mike. A one off drubbing will be dealt with by elite players differently to grassroots players, and also by their coaches. Motivations of particiants is key (are they worried about teh scoreline?)- a one off heavy defeat might focus the mind going forward for grassroot players, in my experience it is only continual heavy losses that cause a real issue and requires a different coaching approach (setting process goals, recognising small improvements) these can also be an issue on player retention/recruitment. I also think that a heavy defeat can affect coaches more than players, as we begin to question our worth, our philosophy and our training methids. Maybe we believed that our team was better than it was and fear being questioned by players and stakeholders. It may simply serve to focus the mind and give you plenty to work on for any potential return game- the benchmark has been set and a lower score next time could be a sign of progress.
You make some good points Mike. I believe there's a massive difference between elite/professional sports teams and developmental/grass roots teams. On an elite level I would expect my team to continue to perform professionally and to the agreed team standards, even if this means 'racking up a huge score' in the process. At grassroots or developmental level there are a number of strategies a coach could consider as you suggest. One appraoch I used to utilise when at Waterloo RUFC juniors was to ensure all members of the squad were given a run out during a game we were winning comfortably, thus helping the less confident players within the squad to gain more exposure in less pressured game time.
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