Literally that one answer could be my entire post but it won’t be 😁. We see it in professional sports all the time. I don’t think I need to name names. So it should not come as surprise that it happens in youth sports as well. This season is the first season where I have not been involved in youth coaching in any capacity. I have had a great summer so far 😋. It doesn’t mean though that I am completely out of the loop. I still follow but to a lesser degree. There is this one team in our club that ‘on paper’ is having a stellar campaign. They are undefeated. Will probably end the season undefeated. Will most likely win the championship. And will in all likelihood head to nationals. So? Are they really that good a team? I don’t really know. I have not watched one game of theirs. I don’t have any reason to. However, just like on paper they look to be a great team, this paper also helps paint a different picture as well. A small time spent looking over all their matches so far and you can’t help but notice a certain pattern. Or i should say a certain player. Some simple math shows that if you subtract said player from the team and subtract all her goals this team would have a drastically different record. Night and day. She is not a home grown player and one could argue that if she had not come to this team they could have gotten another player of her calibre. Maybe. But impossible to predict that their record would be as good as it is right now. Clearly without her it wouldn’t be. Here’s what having such a player does though. This team’s record is getting noticed by other talented players currently on other teams who may be struggling. These players will show up next season with the hopes of being selected so they can be on a better team. Eventually the home grown players will be replaced with these out of club players and the team will become a bonafide powerhouse just like their 2 year older sibling sisters.
The irony with all this is that you will hear coaches and technical directors talk about ‘development’. That word is as useless as ‘transparent’. Ultimately it never really is about development. It’s about winning. Do you think that the coach of this talented player who has factored in every single game would sit her a game or more knowing that they have not yet clinched first? No. Way. That’s because it’s not about development. It’s about winning.