When to move? Is it a Race to Yellow?
When you are making these kind of decisions for your program you should create a priority list. Often I talk to coaches who are suffering from information overload and they just have too many things that they want to teach and they want to teach them now. So for ever level I write a list and then I categorise each skill to decide if I should be spending a lot of time in this area.
I use these categories …
- MUST for the things that a child must be able to do at that level.
- SHOULD for the things that a player on a more committed pathway should be able to do and then
- COULD for the things that the absolute exceptional children could work on if they have mastered the MUSTs and SHOULDs
The worst thing you can do is to assume that all players are on a race to the yellow ball and that the faster they get there the better they will be. You are assuming that players will learn more when they get to yellow. In fact chances are they will learn less. So you are racing them not to the “Promise land” but to the “Bad lands”
Look at Red, Orange and Green Like Building the foundations of the building. The building is the player and you want to build a great tall strong one. Let’s say the height of the building represents the ultimate level the player will reach. Now whenever you build you must start by looking at the foundations. So if you want to build small foundations, have a limited number of skills, and just working on the MUSTs, at Red before you move to Orange then you are saying that you are building a 1 storey building. But if you want to build a skyscraper then you must do more than just the MUSTs … you have to do the SHOULDS and the COULDS. Ironically the player that wants to be great will not move sooner from Red to Orange because the RED finish line means mastering more tasks at Red if you want to build a taller building.
If you want to create a lot of very average players then sure move them from Red to Orange when they can do a basic rally. If you want to make some good players then you are going to have to consider the technical and tactical pathways in much more detail.
But don’t think that Yellow Ball is the goal. Don’t think is a race. Remember the story of the 3 little pigs .. build it fast and it may fall down later with just one puff. Built it well and it will stand the test of time!
Learn more about systematically developing young players following sound principles of growth and development by downloading the Baseline U10 ebook.