I’m dumbfounded by those who insist that 6-year olds should have to play our sport by the same rules as Olympians. I keep hearing stupid things from some truly smart people, like this statement: “There is no point arguing rules that are already in place and being run at all levels in all countries.” Not only is it un-American to suggest that it’s pointless to argue against any form of world government like the IJF, more importantly, from a development viewpoint, it makes no sense to treat kids like adults. Yet the author of the above quote, a member of one of our national coaching committees, ignores “age appropriateness” and supports IJF rules lock, stock and barrel for everyone. It’s safe to call this person an IJF elitist.
“Player development continues to be the core of what we do. By its very nature it’s a long-term process, so it may not be as sexy as announcing a national team competition or coach or winning medals, but it’s actually probably the most important thing we do.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if this were coming from USA Judo? Well, it didn’t come from USA Judo. It came from U.S. Soccer’s president, when he introduced the federation’s newly appointed youth technical director.
Three recently published books- Outliers: The Story of Success, Talent is Overrated, and The Talent Code– have dealt with a common theme: ten thousands hours of deep, deliberate practice over ten years are required to achieve mastery in any field.
In The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, there’s a section on the development of Brazilian soccer that got my immediate attention. Soccer is a sport I know, having played it since I was ten years old, but the development of Brazilian soccer was a story I was not familiar with. From a coaching viewpoint, it’s a fascinating story that has repercussions for Judo. Continue reading