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Participation vs Performance U/10

My associate coach and I disagree on whether U/10s should play different positions or focus/settle on one, maybe two. I don't want to put the girls in a box at such a young age but I also don't want a Jack of all Trades situation. They are still developing so much that I feel I'll be doing them a disservice by just putting them in the same position every week. The assistant coach says if we move them around we're not going to do as well but that is where the participation vs performance comes in for me. Surely at this age development is more important than winning?No coach likes to lose but I don't want to win at the expense of them experiencing different positions. What do you guys suggest? Thanks in advance! A
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Hi Annie, Last season I coached an under 9's team. Every week I would rotate the girls through the positions. So one week you would play GA and next week WA. I would have it in the order GS, GA, WA, C, WD, GD, GK. If I had a sub, I would swap the centres at the quater brake. I have personally found that this has led to the players experiencing all positions at a young age, which means they get a go at everything, letting them discover the different positions. Because it is a young age, I found it a not so competitive environment to have players 'have a go' at different positions. I hope this helped. Lucy

Its a requirement here that netta girls have to rotate through positions every quarter.  Although I understand the concept and agree that they are too young to be pigeoned holed into one position, I also think its very unsettling for the players to be constantly moved all game.  maybe every game they must play a different position and rotate them that way.  Or at least must rotate in the shooting, or centre, or defence thirds. and then every week move to a different area.

Great question, and every coaches balancing act. I'm only a 2nd season coach of U11's girls however have also been involved in junior footy. I strongly believe that it's participation and development first and performance 2nd. I see teams every week leaving the girls in the same positions and therefore stopping the development of everyone. I initially tried rotating everyone almost every quarter however I also believe this does not work as the kids can't get comfortable in that short period. It becomes confusing for some not knowing where they can move on the court. After many rotations last season I'm now at the point that I'm starting in similar positions however changing as the game goes on. There is no doubt some players are more suited to set positions than others however we still need to move them around to broaden their skills. My view now is to try and give them 2 quarters in their best suited position and then give them another position. I also try and ensure I have a strongly suited player in each area of the court to keep good ball movement. Talk about and celebrate how many goals we can achieve, not how many the opposition scores. A win is keeping the kids enjoying their netball, engaging and communicating with the parents, not the score at the end of the game. The very rare kid that makes it all the way to professional netball probably already has the desire and does the extra work to achieve. They also receive specialised coaching at some point in their journey in Rep based teams or squads. Do we cater for the 1% that make it or the 99% that play it for enjoyment and competitive reasons? In my opinion the numbers tell you the real story.

Remember something very important. When the team needed a coach you put your hand up, and that's what makes you a leader and teacher to our young players.

Good luck!

In the UK U10 clubs play high 5's (no wings and GK and GS play as GA and GD so can move in centre court). The match is played in 6 sections with players rotating in a specific order so everyone plays every position. Initially I didn't like this format but I do think it gives players an understanding of all positions which adds to their development and will give them the flexibility which will benefit them in future years. My daughter is tall one too often stereotyped as a g player, this gives her the opportunity to play centre which she loves. 

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