Tournaments can be detrimental to children



Traveling for soccer is as American as apple pie. It’s seen as a badge of honor among parents. Our youth soccer culture assumes that tournaments are beneficial endeavors for our soccer players just because “it’s the way it’s always been done,” rather than actually examining the potential harm. Tournaments have come a long way from the days of my childhood where they were focused on promoting the game and raising funds for clubs. They have become big business, big competitions, and a staple for many youth soccer clubs.

Many tournaments are held in the summer when temperatures often exceed the recommended threshold for youth sports. Children can lose up to a liter of water during a typical game, and being less adaptable to heat than adults, often experience signs of heat stress (headaches, dizziness, cramps). It is not uncommon for a child playing a tournament to suffer heat stroke, a potentially life threatening condition. Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (of which I am a fellow) recommends canceling all athletic activities when the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT, a measure of heat and humidity) exceeds 85 degrees F? Yet organizers, coaches and parents often march their kids out in 100 degree weather believing they are helping these Young jersey cheapsters.

There is a false mantra in youth soccer that says, “If you want to be the best, you have to play against the best.” This actually makes little sense when you look at the science. Playing against significantly superior teams, in a competitive setting, only serves to increase fear of mistakes. It decreases the opportunities for Young jersey cheap players to have time on the ball. While they may still be able to work on some defensive skills, even these opportunities are less beneficial than when playing against more closely matched opposition. Coaches, who often have no prior knowledge of their opposition’s skill level, cannot appropriately plan for their players’ learning challenges.

It is true some parents and children actually enjoy tournaments despite these negative aspects. Many point to the joy of visiting a new city and experiencing different styles of play than they are accustomed to locally. Parents typically enjoy the social opportunity of tournaments in the form of a long weekend away from work, sitting around hotel lobbies with other parents, discussing their team’s highlights. And much to the chagrin of hotel staff, the kids obviously love getting away with their friends and finding mischief in pools and hallway ice machines.

Another option is the soccer festival, which can mean different things, but primarily removes the focus away from winning and places it on the celebration of the sport. Some are simply tournaments where no scores or standings are recorded, and teams play a round robin format. Unfortunately, kids and parents are keen to keep score and figure out which team was “the best” anyway. Some Wholesale Jerseys China
clubs have moved to internal soccer festivals in which players from various skill level teams and ages can be split up randomly, perhaps into World Cup countries, where they compete for prizes in small sided games. These typically allow the kids to enjoy the fun of competition without the pressure to perform and win at all cost.

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