Monday, July 23, 2007

How Important is Winning?

Dear Lauren,

Here's the problem. My players are pretty good, I think. They are just U13 and I feel they are pretty advanced, most of them anyway. Our season doesn't start until late-August but we have already had 10 optional training sessions, and the turnout has been very good.

We work on touch a lot. We build in some speed and agility training, and we try to make it as fun as possible. The girls love to play and they will play any time they get a chance. Their parents love for them to play as well. What parent wouldn't like to watch an activity in which their children excel?

But here's the thing -- we are in a killer division. With the exception of two 2-0 wins and a 2-0 loss, all of our spring matches were one goal games or ties. At U13 here, teams are promoted and relegated at the end of the fall season and then again at the end of the spring season. Next fall, a Premier Division will be formed from the 10 best teams in the state. My team, which is kind of the flagship team from our small club, has a chance to be a Premier team.

Do do that, we need to not finish in the top seven in the fall to avoid relegation, then finish in the top five in our division in the spring.

Reaching Premier at U14 was one of the stated goals of this team when I took over the team before the spring season. If I am to win, it will have to be at the expense of the best player development situation for some of the girls on my team. There are some that just can't be in a close game if the team is expected to win.

If the team does not reach Premier, it will almost certainly break up and disperse throughout other teams.

What would you do?

When I think of an answer, I'll write.

You know who.