Fantasy Football For Kids – Review

Back in March Mr I (my husband!) did a guest post on Fantasy Football For Kids. Well the season for fantasy football is now over and Mr I has taken the time to put together a review on how it went for the kids!

At the start of this years AFL season, I listed the 10 benefits my boys would get from participating in this years Supercoach competition (online fantasy league competition for Australian rules football. If you haven’t come across this phenomena then let me quickly explain:

  • $10m of play money to buy 30 players who gain points each week based on performance.
  • Player values are set at the start of the year but do fluctuate on the basis of form.
  • As coach of this team, you also have a limited number of trades over the season.

Well, with the season now over, I’ve interviewed the boys and the report card is pretty good. See you next year. Check out point #9. Looks like I’ll need to resort to some espionage and bad tricks 🙂 .

Primary Benefits Of Fantasy Football For Kids

1. Budgeting – $10 million may seem like a lot of money to spend on 30 players, but when you’re first 10 have used up 75% of available funds, some hard decisions need to be made.
OK – The system does force the ‘coach’ to make the tough calls at the start of the year. Even still, Little Rascal would have preferred some coverage on the bench.

2. Numerical skills – Take away the player names and Supercoach is all about the numbers. 2122 pts beats 2098 pts. The captain you nominate gets double pts, so an ordinary game of 136 pts suddenly becomes 272 pts. When integrated with an activity kids love (i.e. sport), numbers can become fun.
Success – Probably the best part. I had so many opportunities to ask number-based questions.

3. Planning for the Future – The concept of trades makes for interesting planning scenarios. For example, if my key mid-fielder is injured for a week, should a trade him and utilise one of my limited number of trades, or should I interchange in one of my lower value, low point interchange players?
Success – Unlike so many others, Little Rascal actually saved a trade for the very last week. This was the grand final and helped him get over the line and have the premiership team for his league!

4. Making decisions and sticking to them – On 7pm every Friday your team becomes locked for the weekend. That means decisions need to be made about which player to select as captain, trade off your team or interchange. While we’re not playing for sheep-stations here, helping a young coach through the decision-making process can be extremely rewarding to encourage independence.
Success – Difficult to measure, but there was rarely a week that went past without the kids explaining to me what they had done and why.

Secondary Long term Benefits

5. Staying in touch with friends – One of son’s friends will unfortunately be heading interstate to live very soon. By setting up a league within Supercoach, he can stay in touch…..The Gen Y version of Gen X penpals.
Success – There was definitiely some friendly banter!

6. The concept of Value – If I see a player on $600,000 a year only getting the same points as a player on $300,000 a year, I will look to trade them immediately. They’re out-of-form and therefore over-valued. But what goes through a child’s mind. Talking through this with them can be a challenge, but may stick with them so they understand that paying $10 for a beer in a hotel is three time too much.
Success – The kids started looking for best value as opposed to the famous footballers they knew. Best buy was Nick Malceski (Sydney Swans) who was up by $240,000 at one stage; worst buy was Jonathon Brown (Brisbane Lions) who was down $170,000 mid-season.

7. Appreciating other players – As a child following a sport where you have a certain allegiance, it can be difficult appreciate the players of opposition teams. Supercoach can make them look at opposition players with a different, more appreciative eye.
Success – It probably got too much when they were calling them by their nicknames.

8. Common Language – Just like sport can be a common language that brings together different generations, Supercoach is the same.
Success – It can also bring together the sexes. PlanningQueen listened attentively to what was going on.

Selfish benefits for me.

9. Helping Me with My Team – Hey, if it’s 5 minutes before the weekly lockdown and I need a forward worth up to $425,500, I’m taken all advice I can.
OK – They did give me advice, but I however have no bragging rights. They whipped my butt!

10. Guaranteed way to get the paper inside on cold mornings – As we limit computer use, the best way to stay up to date on performance and points is through old-fashioned papyrus. And as the winter months can get cold, I certainly don’t like going out to get the paper.
Success – Like a faithful golden retriever!

From PQ – It was quite amazing to see how much the boys got into this. As a bit of a stats girl myself it was great to see the boys undertaking analysis, researching players, reading the sports section of the paper and having discussion with other grown males about their Supercoach sides. To be honest it was hard to always sound interested about their latest trades as I was soothing an upset toddler or trying to get dinner ready, but I would certainly encourage them to do it again next year. The educational and social benefits were certainly worth it!

When I asked Little Rascal to log in to Supercoach so I could take a screen shot of his team (as shown above), he took a look at his side in the first post and said “I can’t believe my side was so rubbish!” He did make changes to his side before the season started and it was locked in. He also then added “I will do so much better next year!”