Coach's Guide: The Most Important Aspect of Coaching the Game - Playing Time

The most important rule to bear in mind is that every member of your team wants to play in the game. That’s why the players joined in the first place. You must never ever lose sight of this reality.

You might notice that the parents come to many of the games. Don’t fool yourself — the reason why parents come to watch the games is to see their son or daughter play. As a secondary consideration, parents will tell you it’s nice the team wins, but their number one priority is to see their child participate.

If you keep this simple principle of equal participation in your mind when the game begins, you’ll be on your way to a very successful season — regardless of whether the team wins or loses.

That means not letting the less talented players play in the last quarter when the score is lopsided and the game already decided. Sprinkle in all of your players throughout the game. That way, every youngster will come out of the game knowing — win or lose — they helped contribute to the team’s effort. Now, that’s coaching!

Of course, if only five players can play at a time, and you have as many 12 players on the team, it can be a little confusing as to who has played a lot and who has been on the bench. This is where an assistant coach can be a great help. Before the game, give one of your assistants a chart broken down by quarters with every player listed (see sample game chart on opposite page).

Have your assistant mark down which player is playing and when. It’s your job to get all of them into the rotation.

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