Young soccer players all develop at different speeds and in different ways. In youth sport it it can cause huge problems as it can stunt the growth of many technical but weaker players and cause physically more mature players to rely on their physicality and not learn or develop the skills needed to be top level players.
The age based system works for some but not all , it often leads to an uneven playing field, stunted skill development and less participation numbers. However a alternative grouping system has been offered - size.
What is Bio Banding
The system " Bio Banding " works by calculating a child's physical maturity and grouping them accordingly. The result is smaller less physically mature players are able to compete with players off a similar stature , meaning there is more room for technical skills and decision making - whilst bigger, more developed players are forced to learn the technical side of the game. Many will argue that players need to learn the physical side of the game, which is true up to a point, but at this vital stage of a players development they need to be training there brain and utilizing there skills, Bio - Banding allows for this to happen whilst also keeping the physical nature of soccer but just with players of a similar physical maturity.
It is used by the best teams in the world
Andrea's Iniesta ( pictured ) who many regard as the finest technical midfield player of his generation often attributes his success to a form of bio - banding during his time in FC Barcelona's famed soccer academy. At the age of 16/17 Iniesta was playing for the Under 14 youth team as physically he could not cope playing players his own age, this allowed him the time to develop and compete on an even playing field.
The New Zealand rugby association adopted using a weight categorization system in primary schools years ago, assuring that there was always a higher emphasis on skill and they have been the best rugby team in the world for over a decade now.
How can it benefit you
It is unlikely that " Bio Banding " will be implemented as a standard in youth soccer anytime soon with Leagues across the USA still grouped by age. However it certainly raises some very interesting issues and shines a light on how important technical ability and decision making is in soccer especially if your a smaller player playing against physically more mature players.
This is where Soccer T.I.P.S comes in we believe in using game realistic 1 on 1 coaching that focus on decision making and technical skill, unlike a lot of coaches who might run you through cones or ladders everything you learn with us you can take back into the game.