One common misconception is that students benefit most by training with players above their level. In many cases this can be counterproductive. In order to develop the right balance of attacking, neutralizing and defensive skills; players must train with players below, at, and sometimes above their level. Technical or tactical issues can arise as a result of playing too much with players above your level – especially at a young age.
There can also be issues in terms of players and parents accurately determining the level they are at. Looking at the player in a more specific context; a player’s apparent level may not correspond with their actual level of play or ranking. For example, players with advanced defensive skills may need to play more with players below their level in order to have increased opportunity to be in offensive situations. Players who tend to rally consistently may need to play more with players above and below them. Good coaches are cognizant of these details and strive to put players in situations that will help them develop the skills they need in order to progress as a complete player.