Friday, July 27, 2012

How to Pick the very best team - You don't'


Unified diversity...and the growth spurt

A school system founded by using ideas that children are to be educated in annual batches and go through standardized test for evaluations, sounds like a very well organized machine at the initial approach.

One simple little graph on five pupils, however, may have the power to toss this overboard.

Here are five real people and how their growth spurt looks like: measured by growth/year, Y-axis, in centimeters and by age on X-axis. Simple as can be,
(image Tanner dev. by SIBF).
Let’s assume that beside of the growth spurt.. That the level of knowledge, cognitive maturity, moral/social development and several other similar things in young people develop at very different paces too.


So what happens with all the late bloomers?

In many sports - it might be the case that they end up in the drop-out batch. Because the coach wants the very very best team.

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) is not about a team winning a game or a school doing a good season.. It goes and aims way beyond this.

Long Term Athletic Development is about when the sport itself wins - and win together with more people staying in the sport for life as the ultimate goal.. The coincidental consequence - is that these new teams will also have the potential to become much better as the old ones - with the high dropout rates.

It is not one scientific study that suggest this - but a bunch of them, as well as a load of plain common sense.

Ok OK Ok, now get to the Floorball part - for heavens sake...

The development model in Swedish Floorball, SUI, state that it is good to specialize into Floorball with specific areas of focus, all related to, and with timing to the individual growth spurt. Yupp, different chronological ages mixed and the growth spurt (puberty) identified and put the players together by ability seems to be a viable road forward..

CS4L, (the Canadian interpretation of LTAD) propose that sports like figure skating and Gymnastics may be the few exceptions that should be started and specialized at early ages...
Floorballcentral think this relate mainly to the body spin they use in these activities  (we might be wrong here - we’ve been proven wrong before) - but since a smaller body just spin easier and faster - therefore we suspect this is more related to pure physics as compared to athletics.
Yes, Canada’s interpretation of LTAD - clearly states that the National Sport in Canada - Hockey - or Ice Hockey, drufus - that their players may specialize a bit later in their lives too.

How do they dare to state this? Well, there are research based proofs presenting more and better players with less injuries. This happens - if sport specialization - is not forced into the lives of the young ones too early.. Yes but this is the - Wrong Question, since the perspective is from the wrong side!
The right question ought to be - How does anyone dare to run a specialized sport operation with young kids that only cater to the very best in this one sport? .

Research suggest that you should not specialize in a sport until you are about 13-15 years old (but hey, look again at the graph - kids are different). This is however a bit complex since the recommendation is also much more detailed on how to perform specific areas of development as in relation to the personal growth spurt.

The graph above is borrowed from the Swedish Floorball Federation and from the document that describe their interpretation of LTAD within the development model SUI.

It is a pity - that kids tend to be more different than most common standards invented.

Should the kids adhere to the standards or the standards/practices relate to the kids?
Kids are Kids and definitively not smaller versions of adults.
Let the kids compete towards themselves to have fun, and for heaven's sake keep em’ all on your team and please let em try other sports too - like Floorball ;-)

Some PE teachers might already know all of this but we assure you that there are thousands of youth sport coaches out there, right now, picking the best player for their teams and...well this way kicking some others out.
The message must be to bring all these less knowing coaches on board to understand what winning really is about.

Thank You SIBF
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Research suggest that eye-injuries are more common in Floorball as compared to Tennis, but less common as compared to Squash (similar to Racquetball).
To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!