Coach Blog

Through the Ages

Through the Ages

How old are you?

I understand why children compete according to their ages. Seems fair to suggest that 16-year-olds have a significant advantage over 13-year-olds. Leveling the playing field as best as possible for a calibrated competition is more than reasonable.

However, it is a given that trainings should abide by the same stratification?

“Yes, of course,” we say.

But wait. It’s TOVO Tuesday and you know we flip things on their head here.

What might emerge if we broke the mold for a moment?

We just conducted a two-week intensive training camp for players 12-18. Yes, the youngest was 12 and the oldest 18. These amazing creatures trained together in a wonderful pot of puberty gone wild.

Granted we do not train in traditional ways where brawn is at an unquestioned premium. We train to nurture intelligence, skill, and character. We train to find and exploit space by managing oneself, managing that space, and managing the ball. Not drills as much as challenging exercises in context.

Let me share with you what emerges with 40 children as my witness.

What emerges are remarkable relationships. What emerges is respect. Self-awareness. What emerges is a frustration that yields to resilience. Creativity, camaraderie, and kindness.

You would have to see it to believe it, or just trust the children who have done it.

The young ones look to the old. The older ones take on a new sense of responsibility. The mature become leaders, mentors, and dare I say, big brothers and sisters. A culture emerges that only variety and diversity affords.

We must play matches in ages, but we can train the way we choose.

I wonder if communities are better built with less stratification and more integration?

Might be worth considering.

There just may be great wisdom to be gleaned through the ages.

Reprinted with kind permission from Todd Beane
Founder of TOVO Training and TOVO Academy Barcelona. In TOVO Training, Beane has combined proven pedagogical practices of experts in the field of education with the visionary components of a total football legend into a dynamic and practical training methodology.
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Todd Beane