It’s too serious for too little. USA Hockey adopted the American Development Model as a guide for the development of its young players. It also provides a long-term athlete development plan.
The change meant that cross-ice matches were used instead of full-ice games. This was no different from NHL games, and there were multiple teams practicing on the ice. USA Hockey created a document to justify the changes and dispel 10 myths surrounding the transition away from real hockey. For best football teams please visit
These excuses can be used whenever a league moves away from the adult-form version of the game. The coaches and parents view the sport from an adult perspective, not from the viewpoint of the child who is participating. When you consider skill, speed and strength, as well as cognitive development, small-sided games can create similar task constraints for youth athletes than full-sided ones.
Most youth sports have the majority of players chasing the ball. This is a form of adult sports. This is because children lack the cognitive skills or strength to use the entire court. Presses are useful in basketball because young players can’t make a pass over a distance of 30-40 feet. The same defense against adult players who are stronger and more skilled would not work because they understand spacing and can use the opportunities to make strong passes over large distances much faster than the defender can recover.
At seven years old, I began 11v11 soccer. We didn’t learn teamwork or how to position the ball. Instead, we learned to kick the ball as far and fast as possible in order to score. We didn’t learn how to move the ball around, or how to swap positions. A left fullback running up the wing to cross into the middle was not something we had. F.C.’s quick, one-touch passes were not something we ever tried. Barcelona
Nobody was able to develop the skills necessary to be a great player. Although we had some speed and toughness, our skill level was not high (and we won many leagues!). Our parents-coaches were not soccer players and tried their best to teach us how to play. We dribbled through cones and shot at goal, and then ran laps. Today, I see the same practices when I drive past soccer fields.
JP Soccer, a Massachusetts youth soccer league, was tired of the untrained and inept players who were leaving its league. They decided to end this model. As a normal league, players practice once a week and then play a game the second day. The league employs professional soccer coaches to help the players improve their technical skills during practice. The players are allowed to join teams on game day and play without any adult interference.
Different sizes of fields are set up by the league. One field may be narrow and long, while another might be shorter and wider. Based on how many players arrived on a given day, the director assigns teams. The four first players who arrive make up one team, while the four remaining players form another. All games are played in 4v4. The director will switch the teams after 15-20 minutes to allow them to play on different fields.
JP Soccer solved many of the problems that plagued youth leagues such as inequal teams, blowouts and playing time. Inexperienced coaches were also a problem. Each team switches weekly, so no one loses or wins every game. Five-minute games are short enough to avoid blowouts. Because there are fewer players and more space, everyone touches the ball. This allows for many goals to be scored. The league does not need inexperienced coaches. Instead, they pay professional coaches to conduct skill sessions and to officiate 11v11 matches.
Many criticize the league for not being a true sport, even though it has helped with many of the problems that youth sports face.
To ensure nobody was late, I arrived an hour early when I was playing. After watching another game, we sat down, stretched, did some laps, and listened to pre-game talk. Finally, we all took to the field and kicked the ball around until the game began. The game was extended to three hours by JP Soccer. JP Soccer removes all pretenses and lets the players play. Are children more interested in the actual playing or warm-ups? Running laps, or playing with the ball are two things that can help a player improve.
Bert van Lingen in Coaching Soccer. The Official Coaching Handbook of the Dutch Soccer Association identifies 4v4 as the best game for youth soccer players. This assertion is supported by a Manchester United-commissioned study, which was published by Rick Fenoglio, from the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at Manchester Metropolitan University. 4v4 is the smallest game possible that preserves the integrity of the game.
Similarly, FIBA sponsored 3v3 Basketball at the 2010 Youth Olympics. 2v2 Beach Volleyball is an Olympic sport but many people resist small-sided volleyball and basketball leagues. Because of the lower action and fewer touches, I learned volleyball playing 2v2 volleyball on the beach. These touches are what make 2v2 and 3v3 games more appealing to developmental athletes.
The opportunity to practice skills in games is crucial for young players. A coach of volleyball might set drills with his players, but not the middle blocker. He will he transfer and retain the skill? Worse, the coach may only teach his setters how they set. What happens if the 10-year-old middle-blocker is six feet tall as a high-school junior, and cannot play in the middle due to his 6’5 teammates.
The player who has never been taught the skill in his youth is unlikely to be able to transfer it to another position. The coach can help the player develop by focusing on specific skills in a young age. The player can build a strong foundation and transfer those skills to other situations and tasks by playing 2v2.
Jack Parker, the Boston University head coach, lamented in the Boston Magazine article that only three of his players are from Massachusetts as opposed to fifteen a decade ago. Parker stated that there are more players available from Texas and California than Massachusetts. It is amazing. USA Hockey decided to concentrate on age-appropriate leagues, which create more task constraints than those placed on adult players despite the smaller playing area and give all players more opportunities to learn the skills that distinguish the best players.