What are the Pros and Cons of Drop in Games?
When it comes to playing our favorite team sport, the first thing that usually comes to our mind is to register for a team and play in a local league.
In theory, it sounds very easy to do, but in practice it is not that easy and before registering or signing up for a team, you need to consider certain relevant factors and make sure that you will get the most and be able to afford and enjoy the games.
I have played soccer and basketball with teams in local leagues for more than 10 years and I have also been playing and organizing drop in games in the past 3 years.
I have learned and gathered enough data and information about those 2 different game types and I will outline their pros and cons in the following lines.
Below are the advantages of playing for a team in a regular non pick up league:
- You play in a real team in a league that has referees, that keeps the score of games with fixtures and rankings.
- You play with the same group of people and you get to know them better and sometime become friends.
- You travel around your city or state to play against different teams in your league.
- You have a long term objective for your team and you try to work as a team to achieve it.
- You have a team color to defend and a great motivation to play to win something.
- The leagues are organized by divisions (from lower to major ) and you can stick to the adequate division that matches your skill to avoid being embarrassed when you play against stronger teams.
- You have the chance to travel with your team and play exciting tournaments and win trophies.
As cool as it may sound, there are a lot of things and factors that can alter the advantages of playing in a non pick up league and give you a very bad experience.
- To play for a team in a non pick up league, you need to find a team first and sometimes you end up with a group of people who behave a certain way that is very different with your values and you are stuck with them for the season after paying your fees.
- A lot of teams advertise open spots on their roster, but they never tell you your responsibilities and duties until you are selected to play. Sometimes, they let you bond well with the team and even let you play a couple of games before telling you that you need to pay your fees that sometimes average 300$ per season (18 to 20 games in average).
- Some games are played very late at night or very far and sometimes your work, school or family duties don’t allow you to play those games, but you still need to pay for them.
- A lot of teams are sometimes created, led or taken over by a couple of good friends and that circle of friends sometimes try to make sure that they always play and give other players (mostly new or non popular players) very few playing time. It is very frustrating to pay the same fees as everybody else and stay on the bench most of the time.
- In addition to paying your season fees, most teams participate in different cups and tournaments during the season and you need to pay for those extra games. Most of the time, you are not aware of that when you sign up for a team and it can be very expensive and time consuming down the road.
- A lot of teams have at least 1 practice session per week and you need to attend those practices to have the chance to play. If you don’t have time to practice, you won’t play and will end up being frustrated for paying for the season and not playing.
- If you pay for the season and for whatever reason you are unable to attend practices or games, you will very likely not get refunded.
- Some team’s coaches are very strict and create a boring atmosphere by always substituting a player whenever he attempts to dribble or try a fancy trick. If you like having fun on the field by trying tricks , you will be sent to the bench very often and you won’t enjoy the games.
- You play only when you feel like it and you pay exactly for what you play.
- There are no practices and you just go and play whenever you want and when the games are scheduled.
- You meet new players and play with different people all the time and it is very exciting.
- Most of the time, the games and field locations don’t change very often and you can adapt your schedule to attend the games very easily.
- Playing drop in games are a lot cheaper than playing for a team in a non pick up league. The average fee per game is 5$ per drop in game and you pay only for the games that you play. You spend in average 100$ for 20 games compared to 300$ for a 20 games season when you play for a team in a non pick up league.
- Playing drop in games allows you to try tricks and take risks because it is an open game and there is no big pressure to win the game.
- You can invite friends to play with you in drop in games and have a lot of fun with your buddies.
Below are some inconvenient for opting to play drop in games:
- Drop in games are not always available. A quick Google search proves how hard it is to find a reliable drop in or pick up league in your city. I have created a databases of drop in games and league in North America to help solving that problem. (See http://www.djamga.com/pick-up)
- Most drop in games are not well organized and sometimes you get to the field and few people show up.
- The lack of team leaders or captains can give a bad impression that there is no game plan and that anyone can do whatever he wants.
- There can be a huge skill gap between players of drop in games because it is usually open to anyone who wants to play.
Having played in both drop in and not drop in leagues, I came to the conclusion that you need to choose your sport league type based on your availabilities, your age and your budget.
- I recommend young players and minors to play mostly in organized non drop in leagues to work on their skill, their knowledge of the game and their competitive spirit.
- For students and adults under 25, if your budget allows, you will be better served by playing in a non drop in league to take full advantage of your strengths and be competitive.
- For adult over 25 and professionals, the best option is to play in organized drop in or pick up league to have more fun, build your network and choose to play only in certain games based on your availabilities.