After the glory days of an undefeated season (like all great teams!) the Pirates have hit on a lean patch. For the most part there are positive forces underlying this – match after match without training time (which the kids love) and a recent swell in numbers, a brilliant foundation for the future but reducing game time in the present. I have no doubt if we fielded a squad the same size as our opponents (who often struggle to have 10 players) or favoured our strongest team at the expense of others we could well continue our winning ways. However, this challenges the fundamental goals and ethos of our team, built on enjoyment, fun, inclusion and to nurture and fulfil potential for all. I have been speaking to the other year group coaches who (believe it or not) highlight their positive experiences of a losing streak as a stimulus for focus and improvement. We plan to follow the example of the U10s and U9s who also have full squads and split in two working groups – easy to name for us: the Skulls and the Crossbones!
One squad will train and the other will play the match with warm-up and training fitted around. The intention is to have two groups of equal ability and potential (not A & B) and they will be shuffled and mingled regularly once we are up and running. For away matches one team will travel and the other will train at home (whether that be Underhill or Bishopston) – we will endeavour to accommodate all logistical issues (those with brothers in other teams / parents who car share etc) nearer the time. We will also use the mini-teams on non-match days for training exercises. This will of course only work if everyone gives training sessions the same priority as matches and as in all teams attendance will be one selection criterion. Remember the coaching staff is made up solely of parent volunteers – why not come and join us?
* coach parent
This weekend the skulls will face South Gower and next week the Crossbones will take on Morriston!! both at home (Bishopston)with training for the other squad.