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Author:  rich0851 [ 19 Nov 2009, 08:53 ]
Post subject:  Substitutions

I am coaching a 6th grade boys team this year. This is the first year i have 12 players on my team. This an "A" team so the players are all pretty equal in ability. We play 12min halves and I am wondering is there any easy formula for getting all the players in with equal playing time. My team is composed of three 1's, four 2/3's, and five 4/5's. Since this is a team consisting of pretty equal players I feel I should try to get them equal playing time. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks Rich

Author:  coach.springer [ 19 Nov 2009, 11:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: Substitutions

What type of tempo do you play? With that much equal talent I would look to run an up beat and aggresive game, i.e. pressing trapping, and alot of transition offense. From there tell the players that if you don't have to take the players out in 3 to 4 minutes then they're not working hard enough.

This will give you a great advantage with fresh legs and somewhat help your situation of playing all.

Do remember that you are never going to please everyone. Do your best at it and always look to improve your rotations.

Author:  JoeHaefner [ 19 Nov 2009, 13:24 ]
Post subject:  Re: Substitutions

Some very helpful substitution ideas have been discussed at this forum page: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=102

What Coach Springer said is great advice.

However, at the 6th grade level, I might focus on fundamentals a bit more. I'm not a big fan of trapping and pressing at the age level because I believe it leads to bad habits at the older age level. I also think if you focus on skill-building rather than pressing and trapping, it'll benefit them more in the long-run. This topic has been heavily at this page on our website:

Author:  Coach Sar [ 19 Nov 2009, 13:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: Substitutions


I like the idea of rotating every 4 minutes... and the last 4 you can play the kids who are having the best game that day. Everyone gets pretty much equal playing time for 20 minutes.

Playing an uptempo game will probably make your kids happier and get them to work harder. But in the long run THEY will benefit more by making sure that they are fundamentally sound. Your goal should be to make sure that they are ready to play at the next level.

It must be nice to have 12 kids who can play the game! :-)


Author:  coach.springer [ 19 Nov 2009, 14:20 ]
Post subject:  Re: Substitutions

You guys are right about the pressing and trapping. I overlooked the age group. But that doesn't mean that they can't learn how to play an aggresive man to man and run the floor on rebounds or turnovers.

Thanks for catching that for me guys.

Author:  CoachDoug [ 24 Nov 2009, 10:12 ]
Post subject:  Re: Substitutions

I like to have a plan of what my substitutions are going to be. We play four 6 minute quarters, so I try to sub some players every 2 minutes. I have 10 boys total (5th/6th grade), so each time I make substitutions I usually sub 2 or 3 boys at a time. That way the most someone is playing is 4 minutes at a shot.

I strive to have everyone playing "nearly equal" minutes, while trying to win too. I know that wins aren't the important thing to focus on--but the reality is most boys (and girls too) want to win.

I actually have a grid that I use to plan my subbing pattern and tracking total minutes for each boy. Now I realize that I have to adjust on the fly based on the situations that come up, but I like having a base plan.

Author:  JoeHaefner [ 24 Nov 2009, 15:35 ]
Post subject:  Re: Substitutions

Hi Coach Doug,

That's great that you plan out your games ahead of time. I did the same thing when I coached 5th, 6th, 7th, & 8th grade teams. I actually did the exact same thing as you where I allotted 2 minute slots.

After awhile I discovered a problem with my substituting and maybe you don't have this problem, but I didn't give the players enough time on the floor to get a feel for the game. I think it's better to have a player play for 4 to 8 minutes at once than it is to play for 2 minutes in every quarter. That was just my experience.

I can't remember where I heard this quote about coaching at the youth and junior varsity level, but it makes sense to me.

"Coach to develop players. Players play to win." In other words, coach without worrying about winning. Do what would benefit all of your players in the long-run. Do what will benefit them when they are 17 & 18 years old. The players will try their best to win.

It's easier said than done, but I firmly believe that.


Author:  CoachDoug [ 25 Nov 2009, 12:15 ]
Post subject:  Re: Substitutions


With only 10 boys on my team (down to 9 with a 3 week academic suspension), everyone is getting more than 2 minutes a period. Here is how I have been trying to do it.

6:00 to 4:00 Player 1, Player 2, Player 3, Player 4, Player 5
4:00 to 2:00 Player 1, Player 2, Player 6, Player 7, Player 8
2:00 to 0:00 Player 9, Player 10, Player 6, Player 7, Player 8

Then in the 2nd quarter Players 9 and 10 would start along with 3 other boys. So the boys are playing about 4 minutes each time. As the game goes on, I'll admit that the better boys will see some extra minutes. But I try to have the playing time balanced as much as possible.

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