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Seeking an Appropriate Challenge

If your youth football team are winning every week, are you really "winning"? UEFA A licensed coach, Dan Wright, unpacks the constant search for an appropriate challenge.

Almost weekly online I see results that just don't make sense. Teams winning 22-0 and promoting it, wearing it like a badge of honour, instead of reflecting on who is really benefiting in these one-sided games. I see Tweets about grassroots Under-10s teams going 60 games unbeaten and labelled “invincible”. But as talent developers, we should be looking instead for an appropriate challenge for our young players to really benefit their development and progression.

An “appropriate challenge” might mean different things to different coaches, depending on your perspective. From my perspective, over the course of say 7­-8 games players should ideally experience varied, but appropriate challenges. These are challenges in which they can experience success, adversity, challenge, and opportunities in which to demonstrate what they’re good at or even take risks to try new things.

Success” in development football isn’t about winning every week. Winning is a by-product and part of the process,...

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