Biobanding and the Little League model

One of those sudden brainstorms — or at least a brain-quick-bolt-of-lightning. The recent USSF (from England) “biobanding” initiative is similar to the Little League model I once proposed.

The common thread: Let players progress on a pathway that’s more flexible than “U8, U9, U10 … U14,” etc.

The idea is simple. Instead of age groups, you have levels. Those levels would have common-sense age ranges — no 16-year-olds on the same field with 9-year-olds — sure, it’s good for free play, but every self-respecting adult or upper-teen player is going to back off a bit against the tweens. But they would overlap.

One way to do it, going from kindergarten up to age 12:

  • Top level: All 12-year-olds, a lot of 11-year-olds, some advanced 10-year-olds
  • Level 2: Any 11-year-olds who aren’t at the top level, some 10-year-olds, advanced 9-year-olds
  • Level 3: 10, 9, 8
  • Level 4: 9, 8, 7
  • Below that, you’d probably just want a first-grade league and kindergarten league

This could run concurrently with or instead of a rec league organized mostly by grade year. (See my other pieces on not having full-time travel before age 12.)

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One thought on “Biobanding and the Little League model

  1. This example doesn’t sound too much different in philosophy than academy style training. I wonder how many players/parents would buy into being the oldest at level 3 or 4 before balking and heading elsewhere.


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