Fun, Play, and So Many Questions

USA Volleyball’s John Kessell and USOC’s Peter Vint circulated this video, with Vint tweeting “I love everything about this!” Am I the only one left with questions?

l’equip petit from el cangrejo on Vimeo.

Maybe my questions ruin the beauty of the film or the playful spirit and positive attitudes of the children. However, I could not watch without wondering:

  • Aren’t the goals too big for the goalie?
  • Why is the team playing against older teams, as one child mentioned?
  • Why, after seeing the lop-sided scores, weren’t the teams made to be more equal? It’s great that the players retain their positive attitudes, but even one of the parents remarked that their goalkeeper gets the most practice, so how are players going to improve when the other team has the ball the entire game?
  • Why are children who lack any real skills being asked to play 11v11 soccer on a large, dirt field? The larger field gives the bigger, faster children and even bigger advantage, and the dirt field makes ball control even more difficult, giving the more skilled players and even greater advantage.

Honestly, when the video started with children saying “Zero,” I figured that it was a story of children who had invented their own, endless game where the purpose was playing, not scoring a goal.

By Brian McCormick, M.S.S., PES
Coach/Clinician, Brian McCormick Basketball
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League

3 thoughts on “Fun, Play, and So Many Questions

  • Jeremy:
    Sure, Spain produces a lot of good players, and this one team has players who appear unaffected by the score. However, this obviously is not the same throughout the league – if every team/player/parent/coach in the league had the same attitude as this team, would there really be games ending 27-0? It’s good that they are unaffected by the score or losses, but what skills are they developing if they never touch the ball? Similarly, what are the other teams learning by dominating an opponent?

  • I agree Brian – Even though there’s a lot right about this video, there are a lot of red flags. They’re romanticizing a situation that is not that romantic. I’ve coached kids in soccer who are the age of the kids in the video. No kid likes to get beat downs like this game after game. You give up 271 goals and score 1 goal in a season and it’s a recipe for discouragement. Most of your points are very valid. Smaller field, smaller goal, less players, competitive balance, etc. Also don’t believe in letting one kid specialize in a position at this age, especially the keeper spot. Let all of the kids play if you’re going to have a keeper. Really don’t need one if you shrink the goal and the field. Appreciate the attitude of the coaches, parents and players that is depicted in the film, but I’m also betting that the season posed many challenges for all parties that was not depicted. Bottom line – all leagues around the world should avoid having children experience a situation like this when it can so easily be avoided.

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