How to Handle a Lack of Playing Time

A few weeks ago I posted this video, ‘My Son Should Play More’

It sparked a wave of discussion on the topic of playing time. More specifically, on whether coaches should discuss playing time with parents.

It is my firm belief, that at the high school level, coaches are under no obligation to discuss playing time with parents.

That is purely a discussion that needs to take place between coach and player.

Now, I am all for exercising excellent communication.

I do believe coaches should welcome inquires, involvement and feedback from parents regarding:

  • How their child is being treated.
  • Their child’s academic progress.
  • Practice, game, and team schedules.
  • Their child's overall effort and attitude (on and off the court).
  • Their child's potential to play in college.

I also think the coach should formally communicate to the parents about:

  • Their expectations for the player’s role on the team.
  • Their evaluation of the player’s strengths and weaknesses.

But coaches do not have to discuss, justify, or defend playing time. Coaches are 100 percent in charge, for right or wrong, with who plays and how much they play. It is their program and playing time is their decision.

Every coach plays who they think will give them the best chance to win. The theory that "the coach doesn’t like my child" as the reason for lack of playing time is bull.

A majority of parents are not able to view the big picture objectively. They are understandably biased towards their own child's happiness and success. Plus, parents are not privy to the whole picture&mbull;they aren’t at practices, team meetings, etc. The player and the coach are the only two people with all of the info, thus they are the only two who should have the discussion.

Plus let's be honest, 99 percent of the time, parents do not know the game near as well as the coach does. Watching basketball as a casual fan does not make one an expert!

Playing time is purely opinion and judgment. What many parents fail to understand is that playing time is not just about playing the best players; it's about playing the players that play the best together. That is a powerful distinction. Chemistry is vital! A team needs to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle...several pieces combined to make a beautiful picture.

Players have every right to discuss playing time with their coach. But they need to approach the coach with the attitude of "What do I need to do to earn more playing time?"

I have never met a coach who wouldn't welcome that approach.

Discuss This Article