FSC has been implimenting the FFA guidelines for Small Sided Games over the last few years. This year’s U9 will be the first year to go through in the SSG format. The plan is that next year U10 will move to SSGs which will be 9v9, on what is basically a half sized field. Traditionally U10s has been the start of competition and grading of teams. While the FFA guidelines for SSGs are that no competition points are allowed to be kept there is scope for some form of grading, or seeding of teams to be carried out. There are Pros and Cons for “grading” it is important that the options are considered and discussed before the FSC Junuior council makes a decision on what format to impliment for SSGs in 2011. This post gives people an opportunity to have their thoughtd put down for consideration. Please take the time to read through the comments below and feel free to add a comment on what you believe is the appropriate format for SSGs in 2012 and beyond.
Many people, and clubs, have had negative experiences with “grading” kids into teams. For the smaller clubs this isn’t as big an issue as they usually have only one team per age group. Some larger clubs go through an extensive and exhaustive process for selecting teams, and despite the effort that is put in, people are still left disappointed. There is a feeling that SSGs, which is meant to be participation and fun based, can do without this added pressure and “drama”. After all there are no points being kept, no finals, or grand finals, so why would grading be necessary?
The current FSC rules are that all SSG teams must be of equal strength. In practice this simply does not happen. Most teams are formed along social groupings, or sometimes school friends. At the end of the day the team are not “deselected” or evened out. In effect the teams are not even in strength. Some teams regularly lose games by large margins, and other go through the season undefeated, regularly beating teams by large margins. There is one school of thought that , again, it doesn’t matter as there are no points kept. We believe that the kids would enjoy, and in fact have more fun, if they were regularly playing against players of the same ability. This isn’t only about giving the more talented players opportunities to excel, it’s just as much, if not more important, for the kids who are developing their skills, or playing football for the first time. Our experience has certainly been that kids who are in teams that are not competitive do leave the sport which is very disappointing.
Grading does not have to be about selecting kids for teams, and breaking up the social groups that have been succesful in SSGs to date. There are many different formats that grading could take, and we need to think outside the systems that we are using now for competition teams.
We also need to consider when grading should start. We believe that grading of teams shuld start during the U9 SSG season. By this age many of the kids have played for 3 or 4 years, and others are being introduced into the sport. It’s also the second year of the 7V7 format.
We’d like to hear what your thoughts are on grading. There has been some aprehension about setting up a post where anyone can comment, and that it might get personal, and out of control. Some rules for adding comments..
- All posts will be moderated, or checked, by me before they are released posted.
- All posts should contain what your thoughts are. There is no need to comment on what other people are saying. Any post that criticises someone elses point of view will be deleted.
- Any post that contains offensive language will also be deleted.
- If it does get out of hand I’ll close the post down.
Some links to useful information
FFA SSG handbook
St George Football Association Web Site
So, what do you think?