What does “B Team” mean in youth sports?
It can actually mean different things in different youth sports programs.
When we talk about A and B teams, most youth sports programs attempt to divide teams by talent levels.
Programs will evaluate the players they have and rank them based on talent level.
For instance, let’s say you have 50 kids trying out for a 6th grade youth football.
The program would evaluate and rank those kids 1 to 50.
While the program has to take into account numbers at each position this gives them a guideline to break up the teams.
Some programs split their players up equally based on talent level.
So which model is better?
That is a very difficult questions.
A/B Team Model vs. Equal Split Model
Kids develop at such different rates.
It’s impossible to say how good a player is going to when they are just in 5th or 6th grade.
We may get an idea but no one really knows.
The focus at this level should be to keep kids in the game.
So there are couple ways to look at how we deal with multiple teams in a single grade level.
Lets look at the advantages and disadvantages of the A/B team model.
A/B Team Model
Kids practice with athletes with a similar level of skill.
Competition in games is more closely matched.
More playing time.
Kids are not challenged by better athletes.
Coaching may not be as good.
Kids may lose interest if they feel they won’t play in the future.
Kids can be mean and feelings can get hurt.
Being a Parent of a B Team Player
More times than not it’s the parents that have more trouble dealing with their player being on the B team than the actual player.
Kids at the youth levels want to have fun.
How many times has your child been more worried about where they are going to get ice cream after the game that the game itself?
Our kids don’t often care if they are on a B team as long as they are having fun.
As a parent fun should be our first priority for our players.
After that we should be looking for them to continue to learn the game.
Your child will take their cues from you.
A couple years ago my daughter did not make the A team for basketball.
I have to say that I was disappointed.
My daughter didn’t let it phase her a bit.
She was happy because a couple of here closest friends were on that team.
So I trusted that those who evaluated her knew that she belonged on the B team.
And she was happy.
Looking back on that, it was the best decision for her.
She played that year at a high level on the B team.
Gained a ton of confidence, developed her skills and made the A team the following year.
The point with this story is that kids develop in different ways and at different times in their lives.
If I would have blown up and showed my disappointment who knows how she would have reacted.
Instead, my wife and I supported her and told her to have fun playing.
At the youth level, the most important thing is to keep kids playing.
Keep kids wanting to play.
Keep kids having fun playing.
As parents, we need to keep our egos in check.
Make sure that what’s happening is right for your child and not what’s right for you.
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