“A” teams and “B” teams – The good, the bad and the indifferent


2 Responses to ““A” teams and “B” teams – The good, the bad and the indifferent”

  1. August 11, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    I’ve recently been asked about the merits, or lack thereof in dividing into teams when a large number of kids turn out for a given sport.

    We’re talking about travel teams of course and so some folks think that at this level, it’s more important to pick the very best kids to represent the town, while others feel that the teams should be comprised of equally divided talent to try and make the most out of both teams.

    This is becoming more and more of an issue in larger towns with very large numbers of children.

    What do you think about this one?

  2. 2 Eric
    August 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM

    This is a great question. If every town handled this issue the same way it would be easy. Equally divide the 2 teams so that they are both “balanced.” No one likes a blow out and every game will be exciting and come right down to the last minute of play. However, this can’t happen because the parents of the “A” kids expect them to play more than the “B” kids. The A players and B players may be out at the same time and an “even” matchup may not exist. This works better for in town or Rec league games when the coaches know all of the players and play for the kid’s development and/or benefit and not to win at all costs.

    So we default to compare an “under high school” level travel team to JV, varsity, college or pro teams where the best play most of the game and the others sub in for the balance. In the end, the disparity widens between the A’s and the B’s as the A’s see more playing time. If this is done at the under 11 level, the result often is the B’s leave the sport prematurely. In large towns there are plenty of A players so the team continues. In smaller towns there are not enough A’s left and the team folds. In the end we fail as neither the A’s or B’s have a team to play on as a result of our actions.

    Although there may be a disagreement between the coaches and parents, a pure A team and B team should be made. “Independent” selectors should determine the A’s and B’s to hopefully eliminate incorrect selections and maintain impartiality. They should play in an appropriate level league to encourage success. (i.e. development not necessarily wins.) Under this model both the A’s and B’s develop up to the High School age, providing opportunity to compete for JV and varsity teams. The select few (of both A’s and B’s) who make those team will leave the travel teams they have long played on. The remainder will consolidate into 1 travel team, comprised of A’s and B’s and continue to play throughout High School.

    If along the way, as coaches, we do our jobs correctly the line dividing the “A’s” and “B’s” should vanish. Under this model, we may not make 2 sets of championship teams but we will make memories. (And 30 years later hopefully good coaches.)

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