EXTRACT: What’s Wrong With Kids Playing to Win?

EXTRACT: What’s Wrong With Kids Playing to Win?

We often post snippets of our favourite articles and our friends at keepitonthedeck.com continue to post some seriously impressively articles. Here today is a snippet of an article titled “What’s Wrong With Kids Playing to Win?”

Below you can see part of the article including some interesting vidoes. You can – and should – however visit the original article here.

Times have changed, football a once simple game is now continually changing both on and off the field. This article will focus on one such change “Non competition Football” at youth level. So what is non competition football and what’s the thinking behind it?

Non competition football is a initiative currently in use in some European countries. It’s purpose is to introduce weekly football fixtures for youth teams without any results and league tables. The belief is that this approach to the game will help the kids play freely and without pressure thus allowing them to express themselves without the worry of making mistakes or costing points or goals for their team for example. But is taking results and league tables away at young age groups really going to be a positive thing?

Angry Trainer

Here at Keepitonthedeck we recently surveyed a number of grassroots coaches currently coaching with local clubs within the Rep of Ireland. Ireland is one of the countries where non competition football is now in existence at younger age groups right up to U11. One of the coaches spoke about Spain being the benchmark for development at youth level and we quote “Look at Spain, the players and teams they are producing, we are miles behind and have a lot of catching up to do, non competition football is not new it’s proven in Spain to have worked“.

We found this quote of particular interest and decided to do some in depth research on Spanish underage football. The conclusion was that in Spain they in fact play competitive football from as early as U6, and this includes recreational teams, not just the professional clubs academies, league tables and top goal scorers can even be found for these leagues from U6 onwards, there is very little non competition football throughout Spain.

Albert Vinas quote

A well known Spanish coach Gerard Font responded during our research to a question about non competition football being in existence throughout Spain: “Absolutely false, all spanish football have tables. Including school under 6 football leagues, they have tables also”.

So in actual fact it turned out that Spain is a benchmark modern example that progressive development can exist as it has done throughout the history of the sport without any need for non competition football. It leaves the question, what is the point of non competition football and what are the pro’s and cons.

During our research the most frequent positive advantages people gave examples of in relation to non competition football are listed below.

1. Kids are not under pressure during games and will try things they normally wouldn’t within a pressure environment.

2. A coach will make subs more often without worrying about the scoreline.


3. Parents will not get as emotionally caught up in a game heaping pressure on kids to win.


4. Less kids will leave the sport from the frustration of losing games.

We would like to thank the folks over at keepitonthedeck.com for producing such informative articles. You can read the original full article and many others like it by clicking here.

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