Coach Pat’s Thoughts
Often we get caught up in the winning part of the game and it extends all the way to Kindergarten. Players need to have fun, enjoy the game, develop life long athletic skills and above all learn skills that will help them in all kinds of athletic participation.
So, the discussion around developing skills and character vs winning games is something for all the club programs in British Columbia and Canada to ponder.
I think the job of the club programs is to promote a fun atmosphere that allows players the freedom to explore their possibilities and become better players after a summer with a club coach. So often now the clubs feel they have to go to all the tournaments in the States or their programs are not being successful. Winning becomes more important than development and kids are excluded because they do not measure up. Kids picked for Elite teams – how I hate that word to categorize players – are already good and likely have been developed by the wonderful high school coaches we have in BC.
I was thinking about this the other day and wondering what is best for kids. Taking a Friday - Saturday – Sunday at a tournament playing 15 minutes per game – the games in the States are usually 25 and 22 running time halves – paying $200 to $400 or more per tournament for a family and getting 45 minutes of playing time.
Now, lets look ant another option and instead of 10 tournaments we do 4 or 5 tournaments and instead, on Friday and Saturday the clubs offer 2 to 4 hours of skill development sessions where the players are on court for the 2 to 4 hours and playing every minute.
So, if we ever want to win a gold again we are going to have to develop players that can compete with the Ontario athletes. Right now club programs compete for the good players and do so by promising lots of games in the states, they call it exposure. (I have a whole new thought on exposure but that will be in the next blog). Maybe its time to develop players rather than just roll out the balls and play lots of games. We need to change, something, as BC is not doing so well when we put our best teams together to compete against Eastern schools.
Club coaches and programs should develop programs that encourage skill development and character development so that players love the game and learn that spending time in the gym is the way to improve and that playing games is a reward for being in the gym.