Handling substitutions
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Author:  coachjg98 [ 23 Mar 2010, 12:47 ]
Post subject:  Handling substitutions

I've been a head coach at the high school varsity level for the past 10 years. I took a new head coach position at another school. Throughout my coaching career I have always handled substitutions myself, I've always felt I've had a pretty good feel for it over the years. The new job I took has come with some veteran assistants who in the past have run substitutions.

I would like some thoughts on who should handle the substitutions. This first year since I did not know the players as well I did allow my assitants the chance to handle this, but now that I know my players much better for next season I feel I may want to resume handling this myself. There just seemed to be confusion from players on who they were going in for, or I would not always agree with some of them. It also seemed the players would look to the assistants more for earning playing time, though I did give my thoughts to my coaches on who I thought should rotate in.

As I make my post-season plans, again I am thinking about assuming this role myself because this is what I feel more comfortable doing. Any thoughts or advice?

Author:  Coach A [ 23 Mar 2010, 13:56 ]
Post subject:  Re: Handling substitutions

In my experience as a youth basketball coach, both boys and girls, I've always allowed and trusted my assistant to make the substitution decisions while I manage the game.

But that is youth hoop (travel and U-13 AAU)

Your situation is different. This is competitive high school level ball. This is YOUR team. The AD brought YOU in to coach this team instead of promoting one of the assistant coaches into that position.
I really feel on the high school level, you should be responsible for managing the game and the substitutions. You have the coaching experience and the multi-tasking ability to do this. You know the talent level and experience of your players, you know the flow of the game, which players get tired quicker, controlling tempo, etc.

Communicate the reasons why you want to control the substitutions clearly to your assistants. And also make it clear to your assistants how valuable they are during practices in evaluating player skill levels and how valuable they are during games to offer advice and remind you how many time-outs, player injuries, and recommend certain subs, playcalling, strategies, mismatches, etc. Good assistant coaches are hard to find, let them know how much you will need to rely on them.

Best of Luck Coach!!

Coach A

Author:  Coach Sar [ 23 Mar 2010, 16:45 ]
Post subject:  Re: Handling substitutions


I agree, the Head Coach should take that responsibility of subbing, that doesn't mean that you don't listen to your assistants. Tell them to offer all the advice they want.. but the bottom line is that YOU have to make that decision. The Ws and Ls go on YOUR record, not theirs. This is YOUR program, YOU get the heat if things go wrong in any way. YOU are in the spotlight all the time.
Give your assistants a lot of responsiblities in practice and even during games.... such as time outs, fouls, inbound plays and match ups. In practice, let one of them run the scout team that way you can focus on the first 8 or so players that will be in the game. Involve them in forming the game plan.... you never know when they will come up with something that will make the difference.
There was a period of around 8 years where there were 4 coaches with Head Varsity experience... we had some great meetings... we all learned from each other.

I can remember one game where my assistant kept telling me that we had to sub for this one kid... I kept saying NO... that we couldn't do that. After the 4th time I told him, OK, go pick a sub..... he walked down the bench and came back saying, we cant do that. We still laugh about that.

Author:  jasonbragg [ 08 Apr 2010, 09:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Handling substitutions

This was an issue that I struggled with this past season, when I brought on an excellent assistant who had years of varsity head coach experience. He was brought on because his scouting ability is second to none. As the season progressed, I turned over the substitutions to him. This is not an easy choice to make, and I wouldn't hand it out to just anybody, but I found that the two of us worked very well together. It freed me up to coach during the games and do that part of the job better. It also allowed my assistant to take a greater role in game decisions. This new duty had one understanding: I would have the ability to overrule any substitution I didn't agree with.
The result was a section runner-up and a trip to the state tournament, which in California is not always a easy thing to do! My advice is that you had better know what makes you assistant tick, and if you think along the same lines. If you do, it will benefit your program to have an assistant with a greater role in games. Sometimes giving up a little control can be a scary thought, but it might work out in some cases. Good luck!

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