Pro-Rel vs Closed System (aka Development vs Money)

The need of winning and/or loosing for the perfect development.

by Filipe Teles (Soccer HUB content specialist)

This topic always brings lots of different opinions and points of view.

(Today, I’m just giving mine; give me yours on the comments below.)

The best way for a player to develop is facing challenges, testing himself against the best and being successful. The “winner effect” is a self-reinforcing osmosis that combines two different hormones, one is the “success and failure” hormone – testosterone, and the other is cortisol “the hormone of economic busts”.

John Coates in “The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust” concluded in a study he did, that in 630.000 professional tennis players that had won the first set had 60% of changes of winning the match. “The pre-competitive surge in testosterone has been documented in a number of sports, such as tennis, wrestling and hockey, as well as in less physical competitions, such as chess, even medical exams. Winning athletes in sports experience a postgame spike in testosterone, suggesting that a positive-feedback loop is indeed the physiological substrate to winning and losing streaks. Incidentally, these testosterone-driven sporting victories appear to be more common when an athlete is on home turf, the so-called home-field advantage.”

The system of “everyone is a winner” is passing the message that nobody needs to challenge themselves, facing better and stronger opponents, and also keeping the players in a comfort zone; a barrier that stops the player/team from improving.

An open system with Pro-Rel (Promotion-Relegation) brings those challenges to the players, will make all the leagues quality levelled (that will make the players facing other at the same development level as them, or slightly higher). The new challenges and opportunities will boost the “winning effect”, and that will help on the development, confidence, and motivation. Those new challenges will keep all the players engaged in the game, and less players will drop sports.

The players will only get better if they face better teams/players. What does a team learn from a victory of 20-0, against a game of 2-1, or 1-1? The Tier 1, 2 and 3 needs to be open, and the teams move up or down with merit, not because the owner has money to register them there.

How does the change from Closed to Open system help with the development of soccer players?

By simply keeping the level of performance, that would balance the quality between teams. For example, (let’s think this as a video game) if in overall a team is 70%, does it make sense been facing teams of 40% or 95%? That team should be facing teams from 60% to 80%, which will help everyone one in that particular team develop to higher levels (they would improve to levels above 80%) and if they archive the promotion by the end of the season, the following season will be facing teams of the same level as them.

Right now in Canada, USA and Australia the teams play all mixed so you can have scores like 20-0, which is everything but development, for one team or the other. We need to keep the challenge to the players but also keep them successful. I can’t understand how two different teams (one as 40%, and the other 70%), can improve in the same “environment” (league division).

With the Open system we’ll have teams <50% playing in the lower division, teams between 50-75% in a middle division and above 75% in a higher division.

In Canada, USA and Australia, Soccer is not big, because we not giving them a big challenge. “We play, the way we practice…” and right now, this Closed system is like a unopposed practice.

“As a Footballer you always want want to test yourself against the best” – David Beckham

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