A lot of our soccer players play an indoor version of the game in the winter with 7 a side and boards and goals that are flush with the wall. Some of our lacrosse players play “box” in the winter. They’re both distant cousins of the outdoor versions we play on the full field and that we train for. Change the dimensions and rules of a game and you change the very nature of it. Imagine playing basketball on a court that was 100 feet wide, 200 feet long with 16 foot baskets and still only five a side. No one would be driving the length of the floor and jamming it home. It would be a whole different game.
When we’re helping young athletes develop we want the demands of the game and the training to challenge them in a way that stretches them and fits their age and stage of development. Here are a couple of great videos about what happens when adults are given a kids’ eye view and experience of playing on a field that doesn’t fit.
Adapting training – whether its physical, technical or tactical – and competition demands to fit the level of the kids as they grow is one of the keys to developing potential. It’s also a key to making the game fun. And, if they’re not having fun – they’re probably not coming back.