I have no problem with kids playing multiple sports when they are very young, but with the top players investing 10,000 hours in perfecting their craft, how do we expect our multiple sport participants to have a chance?
I have players leaving practice early for tennis, not showing up because of softball or volleyball, not attending because of track, cross country, tennis, piano lessons, chess lessons ( yes..chess). The list goes on and on.
The parents want well rounded children with an appreciation for the different arts and sports. I get that, but what I do not understand is why parents are upset when our teams are slaughtered.
Of course, in their mind the coach must be doing something wrong. I explain to parents that when so many miss for so many reasons, it is very difficult to plan a session that addresses any team issues. How can you work on building from the back when the centerbacks are missing? How can you work on finishing when the strikers are not there or the goalkeeper has to leave early?
You get my point. Many of my coaches have to alter their plans based on who is there that day.This makes it very difficult to progress as a team, because some players never miss. They get better faster and now we have a disparity in ability and understanding.
The weekend finds a team together for the first time. They are not on the same page, we have no chemistry and some players are very unfit.
If soccer is recreational and you are not interested in pursuing this at any level, then this is fine..well it is not, but I can understand. The sad thing is that these players all say that they want to play at the next level. They have no idea what it takes to play there.
My point is that some of our players do not invest nearly the amount of time needed to be adequate, so forget about being exceptional.
The Dutch U17 National Team coach put it very simply at the A license audit I attended in January this year.
He said “How can you expect to be good at anything if you are doing everything.” There is a principle in soccer called SAID. It means Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.
Our players impose so many demands through multiple sport participation, that they never adapt to any of them. In other words they never master any discipline.
While there isn’t anything we can do about parents putting their children in so many activities, we can at least make it clear that this will hinder their child’s development and future in soccer.