‘Playing Up’ Is Not Always A Good Idea


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There are benefits to “playing up,” but there are also inherent problems.

The term itself was first used in the early 1980s when tournaments were short of filling an age bracket. Tournament directors would call coaches they knew in the age bracket just below and ask them to fill in “just this once.”

Soon, teams were volunteering to do the same thing and, before too long, “playing up” was a big deal to the point of teams registering in tournaments in higher age brackets.  Tournament directors went along with it in most cases, and the term and practice stuck.

Image result for dejected youth team
Asking young athletes to play up before they are ready can have conflicting results.

There are definitely teams capable of playing up. The athletes have trained hard and played at a high level for a number of years. Athletes, coaches and parents want the challenge. They make the conscious decision to risk being shut down by older, more experienced teams for the sake of seeing stiffer competition.

But, in the process, some coaches have pushed the envelope too far. Their teams simply aren’t ready.

When athletes are not prepared — physically, fundamentally and mentally — to endure what could potentially be a severe beating, the damage to their confidence can be devastating. In these circumstances, coaches are putting kids’ well being on the line, and it sometimes goes beyond teaching them a lesson. It can douse dreams.

Playing a sport quickly can become a chore instead of a passion if coaches and parents aren’t careful. Pride and nearsightedness can obstruct joy in athletics and devolve into the opposite of what the culprits originally intended.

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National Scouting Report is dedicated to finding scholarship opportunities for athletes who possess the talent, desire, and motivation to compete at the collegiate level. We’ve helped connect thousands of athletes with their perfect college.

If you are ready to take your recruiting to the next level, click the Get Scouted button below to be evaluated by an NSR College Scout.

Get Scouted  Scouting Careers

One thought on “‘Playing Up’ Is Not Always A Good Idea

  1. I don’t believe it could have been communicated any better. Glad to see someone finally put this topic in perspective. Thank you!

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