One of my player's parents expressed an interest in playing up an age group this season. It got me thinking about if that was a good idea.

He most certainly has the ability in every facet of the game to play up an age group. Technically, tactically, and mentally he's a class above most players in this club. He's not a big player, but he's quick, and won't struggle physically against older players. It may actually be good for him to get to play against players in training who are a year ahead of him in some ways.

The question should be framed as such, however: is this the best environment for him to develop as a player? Some questions should be raised in this type of scenario:

  • will the players he trains with challenge him? Will it be too easy? Too hard?
  • does the coach have the knowledge and capability to teach the player?
  • is the overall training environment going to challenge the player? Meaning, does everyone hold themselves to high standards?
  • will he receive adequate attention to develop? Is the player more prone to succeed as a big fish in a small pond, or as a small fish in a big pond?

These are just the questions that immediately come to mind, and are intentionally topical. One could go far deeper into each. Whoever the decision-makers are in these scenarios, hopefully they have deep knowledge of the individual, the environments in questions, and enough data points to make an informed decision.