Notes for Parents: Does Size Matter?

last updated 11/2014


When Bigger Meets Smaller


2/16/13  Huma, Oakland Tech vs Bishop O’Dowd

Size does matter. When bigger meets smaller, bigger generally keeps moving forward. Smaller does not. Huma, a freshman playing varsity, gets stopped and lifted off the ground by a much more massive O’Dowd long pole.




Still the Same Story

4/27/2013  Huma, Oakland Tech vs Napa

Two months later the physics remain the same. Huma is still game, but he’s also still a rail thin freshman. His opposition is still a bulky upperclassman. The coaching staff calls a play for Huma to crash the middle. Huma gets crushed again. After two such plays with the same result, Austin, the on-field player/coach, yells to the coaches on the sidelines “You’re gonna get him killed. No more of those plays.”




Same Difference When the Defender is Smaller

 5/3/2014  U13 Boys vs Head-Royce

Big still works well against small when it is the defender who is smaller. The Head-Royce defender has a decent position on the U13 Oakland Boys player, but doesn’t have the body mass to effectively leverage against the lower end of the Oakland player’s stick.  The ball is not going to leave the basket this time.  He was was easily able to brush off this defender.





Trouble for the Goalie


4/9/2011  Elan, Oakland Tech vs Rancho Cotati

When the goalie is in the goal area, called the crease, he is relatively untouchable. Once he leaves the crease he is fair game,  just like everyone else. The Rancho Cotati forward is about to clobber his smaller opponent, Tech’s goalie Elan.




Height Helps Too


4/27/2014  Judy, Oakland U13 vs Skyline

Judy was one of the taller players on the field this game. In this photo she is combining  her height advantage with her athletic jumping to tower over the Skyline defenders for a shot on goal.




Small Can Be an Advantage


3/7/2009  Rebecca, Bishop O’Dowd Girls vs Granite Bay

Though the telephoto lense is exaggerating the size discrepancy between Rebecca and her Granite Bay opponent, the difference was startling. In this situation, picking up a ground ball, the smaller player is more nimble and is closer to the ground and probably has a better chance at coming up with the ball.




Nick the Ground Ball Machine


3/20/2011  Nick, Oakland Tech vs the Pleasanton Thunder

Being smaller was a disadvantage which Nick would turn to his advantage. He would lose the ball in match-ups against big defenders, but even if knocked down, he’d bounce up and grab the loose ball with his quickness and determination. His ground ball stats were often the highest on the team.




Making Size not Matter – Hustle


5/10/2014  Oakland U15 Boys vs Alameda

While the other players walk, this Oakland player is out front on the run getting the ground ball. Hustle can make size irrelevant.




Making Size not Matter – Balance


4/9/2011  Drew, Oakland Tech vs Rancho Cotati

Drew was average in size, but had tremendous lower body strength as this soon-to-be-on-the-ground Rancho Cotati player discovered. Strength and balance can neutralize size.




Making Size not Matter – Distance


3/25/2011  Jamie, Oakland Tech vs the Eagles

Size doesn’t matter when small stays away from big. Midfielder Jamie chooses his shots from a distance where he is guarded by his counterparts, smaller, swift, short pole middies. Let the forwards contend inside with the big long pole defenders.




Making Size not Matter – Speed


3/3/2013  Kinshasa, Oakland Tech vs the Rams

Kinshasa was the burner on the team, built for speed, not collisions. By his senior year he’d worked out his dodging moves to the point where the coach would call isolation plays just for him. The offense would spread the defense and Kin would take the ball near midfield. Everyone knew what was coming, Kin at full sprint down the middle.  If he could slip by the first then second sagging defender he’d have a shot on goal without having to wrestle with any bulky long poles. The goalie had no chance to stop this shot. Kin was too fast, too slippery,  and just got too close.




Making Size not Matter – Tactics


3/20/2011  Nick, Oakland Tech vs the Pleasanton Thunder

So what is a player to do if he or she lacks size, blazing speed, and a sizzling outside shot? Nick often had to do everything but scratch, kick, and bite to get possession of the ball (see photo #7 in this series). He’s earned the shot in this photo, but even with all of his hustle, this shot wouldn’t have been possible without his superior tactics. There are two defenders right on him, but Nick has turned Pleasanton’s smaller short pole into a shield. Pleasanton’s #56 is too close to untangle his now useless long pole from his teammate’s upper body.