Written and published by Gary Kleiban. Find the original version here.
The perception and values associated with the practice of recruiting depends on who’s doing the perceiving and the act itself – be it an organization, coach, player, parent, or whoever.
This episode will take the position of what every interested party supposedly wants. Development and a meritocracy. Right?
If the goal is to develop players to the caliber of a quality professional … hell yeah recruiting is necessary. And not only is it necessary, it is the right thing to do.
It is your responsibility to help ensure the players with perceived highest potential have teammates and a coach of appropriately high quality that not only push them, but elevate the team to a point where they get noticed by the right people.
Actually, it’s not only to the benefit of your current best players, but it creates competition between everyone on the team to earn their place. Everyone’s level is raised.
You think serious clubs around the world don’t actively recruit? You think they don’t cut players if they are perceived to not be developing satisfactorily?
Going beyond the goal of developing professionals, this view can also be applied if the objective is to only produce college level players.
Hell, isn’t this applicable to ‘developing’ for any level higher than where one currently operates?
Now, if your stated claim is to service (implicitly meaning develop) your players only to have them move on to another higher level youth team, that’s fine. Then it’s possible you may not need to recruit, but why hate on those who do?
Far more important to consider is this:
If you think you know how to develop talent better than the next guy, aren’t you actually doing your players with highest potential a huge disservice by letting them go to a lower quality coach? Aren’t you doing this country a disservice?
Maybe your answer to that, is you want to cater to your lower potential players. Why?
Or perhaps you have some other reasons.
But are you sure you’re not rationalizing? I mean if you cared about and tried to service on the high end, that obligates you into all kinds of other time-sapping, emotionally draining work. Recruiting is not easy, keeping your current players is not easy, cutting players is not easy, and a whole new world of challenges present themselves. And all for what?
But that’s only the beginning of your worries.
That stuff is nothing compared to the huge scary monster in the room! The mother of all worries and challenges! The one you may dare not confront, or even acknowledge … is this:
Maybe you’re not as good as you think you are.
You talk and talk about what’s wrong, that you’ve got answers, that the guys coaching at “higher levels” are doing it wrong, but what do you really know?
Yes, you might be able to judge their product. But …
Maybe your product would end up being complete shit like theirs, maybe worse!
Nah, much safer to chill in the middle and claim virtue because you don’t cut players, and ‘want’ your best to leave. Right?
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Other relevant episodes and resources:
- This Podcast Is Not for Losers. Listen to Find out How Anson Dorrance Develops Winners.
- How Brian Kleiban Creates A Winning Culture [Podcast + Video]
- It’s Time to Debunk the American Myth That Soccer Is Just a Game.
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Terry Ransbury says
A dose of reality here that needs to be ingested by all coaches at all levels. I would just add that underlying all of this is the free choice of the player to find the path that best suits their needs and desires.