Letter: Skill's the thing

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The Independent Online
IT IS difficult to "play to win" if you just aren't good enough. And that is our problem certainly in international cricket and soccer.

I welcome wholeheartedly the emphasis on competitive games at secondary school level, but that is not the whole story. Young people should be encouraged to develop individual skills. As an ex-games teacher, I well remember trying to stem the tears of defeat when "skill" had failed to bring the right result. There was never any lack of desire to win: just a lack of sufficient skill.

In Brazil children learn soccer skills at an early age. The emphasis should be on such skill training; I doubt the wisdom of too much competition before 12. Too many youngsters, even now, are pressed into 11-a-side games before they have learnt to be comfortable with the ball. Individual and small game skills must precede any introduction to the bigger game, where the player could be at the mercy of a coach intent on "winning" the "English way". I am referring here to soccer, but I am sure a similar case can be made for cricket.

KEITH COLLINS

Whitton, Middx

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