Whether it be football, rugby or basketball, these players are often able to use their size or strength to get the better of opponents, however they also regularly receive poor coaching too. As a result, being among the most productive players on their team is not always a positive factor for such individuals.
More physically developed children are often used as a something of a target in football, whilst larger players in rugby are utilised as a battering ram to make ground into an opponent’s territory. With it being a similar story in other sports too, it is clear that some youngsters are effectively being punished when it comes to coaching. Not only does this do a disservice to the individual themselves, however also to the rest of the team.
While more physically developed youngsters may find it easier to bully opponents thanks to their stature early on, it is unlikely that this will continue for an extended period, meaning that it is hugely important for this type of athlete to develop their skills too. Those who rely too much upon their size are likely to become limited at a later date, with much of the emphasis being placed upon coaches, who must put winning aside and consider the future of young athletes instead.
At some point, other members of the team are likely to catch up in terms of size, with their greater skills giving them a better chance of developing further in their chosen sport. Meanwhile, if a so-called “big kid” does not dominate games as they are expected to due to their size, they regularly risk become ostracised by their coach. For example, if the tallest member of a rugby team is chosen as the regularly catcher at line-outs, they are unlikely to learn additional skills, such as passing, tackling and the breakdown.
Many now believe that young athletes should be played in a range of positions in order to improve their overall understanding of a sport, no matter what stereotype they fit into. Coaches must understand that all players in their team must be taught equally, rather than focusing on one individual over another. Many of the standout athletes who are playing for sports academies today have been allowed to develop a level of versatility, which is achieved by good coaching.
Youth sport should ultimately revolve around enjoyment, particularly between the ages of 5-11, with coaches focusing on developing versatile athletes. This can be achieved by involvement in a range of sports and positions, while children will also learn many other lessons by doing so.