When it comes to House League Soccer many organizations are obsessed with how many players and teams they have registered and seem to base their entire success on numbers.
But as in many cases and with many things “Bigger Is Not Always Better” and this is definately the case when it comes to the overall development of all the players in the system, here’s why …..
There Are Never Enough Qualified Coaches.
The more kids you register the more teams and therefore the more coaches you will need. We are all familiar with the stories of parents with zero soccer experience being begged to coach a team or there will not be a team !!!!! So you end up with a high percentage of inexperienced volunteer parents coerced into coaching a team. Whilst we commend these volunteer parents for stepping up and managing the team they are not really coaching or helping the players develop any skills.
Too Much Sitting Not Enough Playing
Team sizes are large So Kids sit on the bench. To spread out the volume of kids teams sizes are far higher than they need to be which leads to players spending lots of time sitting watching rather than playing.
No Practice/Development & Instruction Time Allocated
With So many kids it is nearly impossible to run effective if any practices as all fields and times are needed for games. So instead of all players actually getting to spend time with a ball at their feet learning how to control the ball, dribble and pass they end up only playing games where they get very limited touches and opportunities to master the skills they need. In addition to their not being any time allocated we relate back to point number 1 which is the majority of the “Coaches” would not know how to run an effective practices anyway.
So yes while it seems a good thing to be in a league with lots of teams and there might be more buzz and you will play more teams during the season the bottom line is that in nearly all cases when the league outgrows the number of qualified coaches it has that can actually teach skills and the game then more and more of the players will be left behind.
So lets take a quick example of U8 players who under OSA guidelines should play 5 v 5
In a typical House League you may have 8 teams and each team will have 10 players thats a total of 80 players, lets assume there are 2 qualified Soccer coaches who coach two of the teams. So out of 80 Players only 20 of them will receive any quality coaching and 50% off each team will be watching the game at any given time rather than playing.
Now take an example of how we would approach providing the same type of program.
We also have 2 qualified Soccer coaches so we would take 24 players into our Program creating 4 teams of 6 players. Each Coach would oversee a weekly skills instruction and practice for 2 of the teams (12 players per coach). After the practice each coach would oversee and coach 2 of the teams in a game setting, with only 6 players there would only be 1 players sitting on the bench at any one time ensuring more playing time.
So from a logical viewpoint in program number 1 you are going to have 60 players who whilst they are involved are unlikely to advance or learn a great deal from being part of the program, whereas in scenario 2 all the players will at least be given ample opportunity to learn and play throughout the season increasing the chance that they will begin to enjoy the game and continue with it longterm.