While MHYSA makes every attempt to place teams in a skilled, competitive environment, there will sometimes be games where one side clearly has the scoring advantage over another. Children have a better experience during a competitive game.
Here are some ideas to help coaches when they encounter a lopsided game. Most of these are meant for Intown games, but many can be used for Travel teams depending on the age and talent level of the players involved.
- Be proactive if you see an obvious disparity. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
- Be respectful of the team that is struggling. Avoid shouting out instructions to the field, discuss the strategies with your team on the sideline. You don’t want to add more pressure to the situation.
- Winning team should not be penalized. For example, stopping all scoring or attacking. They can still work on developing other skills.
- Losing team should not be patronized by blatant efforts to level the field. For example, playing down 2-3 players.
Ideas to Improve Competitiveness
- Rotate players to play positions they don’t normally play. This will also give them time on the field to develop their skills in a new area.
- Introduce a specific number of passes that must be completed prior to shooting on net.
- Introduce a “touch” limit for players. For example, each player is only allowed 2-3 touches to avoid dribbling. Provides players an opportunity to sharpen their control of the ball and passing.
- Shots on goal must be taken with a player’s “opposite” foot.
- Set a midfield boundary. Defenders cannot move up on attack and forwards cannot fall back to help the defense.
- Allow the weaker players on your roster extra playing time. This will allow them more time to develop their game play.
- Goals can only be scored off a cross.
We hope these provide some options the next time you find yourself in a game with an overmatched opponent.