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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2020, 03:39 

Posts: 1
My daughter is in 6th grade and has been playing on her schools basketball team for 3 years now and has had the same coach each year. From the very beginning there was something about this coach that just didn’t sit right with me and it has only progressively worsened. Each year she has her group of favorites that she plays the most (although they aren’t always the best) and the other girls get subbed out for very short periods of time. A lot of the girls just really did not know what to do when they hit the court probably due to the lack of playtime and poor coaching skills. I have just let it slide but she has gone too far for that this year, in my opinion. She has now split the team into an A and B team. There are 13 girls on the team , 5 of which are on the A team and the rest of them on B. Our games are 30min long (2-15 min periods) and the 5 girls on the A team play for the entire game with no subs. Afterwards, the B team plays a “game”. Their “game“ consists of one 10 minute period and is played against the same team that just played our A team. During their 10 minute game they have to sub in order for everyone to get some playtime. Some of the girls are getting 2-3 minutes and sometimes less per “game”. Has anyone ever heard of this coaching style before? Surely this is not a common practice within youth sports. What are your thoughts? & how should I approach a resolve?

Thanks, Samantha!

PostPosted: 19 Jan 2020, 16:28 
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At this age it's usually about finding that balance of challenging players yet giving them meaningful playing time minutes to improve. It's not always easy... but here's how I handled it...

For players 8th grade and younger, I would find them playing time as long as they listened, followed the rules, and put in the effort. I tried to find everyone meaningful minutes getting to play at least 40% of the game. It might vary from game to game. But depending our logistics, I thought everyone should get to play that much. It was not perfect but we got our kids WAY more than 2-3 minutes a game. That just is not enough to get anything out of it.

With that said, we did reward performance to an extent. We might have an A and B team. Maybe even a C team or hybrid mix of ABC players. Or we might reward more playing time based on performance or have a starting 5 that worked the hardest and played the best. If you want to play more, well then work on your skills and try harder. So there was incentive there for our players.... while still allowing everyone to play enough minutes to they could all develop.

It was usually structured something like:
A starting 5
A subs
B starting 5
B subs

By getting creative, I would mix teams or just give everyone at last some opportunities to start and come off the bench.

This was for youth basketball where we just played in some tournaments and practiced a couple times a week. I viewed this as my job to develop players and teach life lessons, not win state championships... although we certainly want to win. I see some teams that are highly competitive and you only play if you perform. I also see some teams / leagues where everyone gets to play equal minutes. And then there is everything in between. In most areas of the country you can find recreational ball where everyone plays and elite ball where it's highly competitive. I see benefits to both sides. What you put your child in depends on what you think is best for them.

When I watch my kids play for their public middle school, some players would only get 2 minutes for the whole game. Some would play almost the whole time. This was 7th and 8th grade. It was not fair but life is not fair either.

You can very nicely ask the coach if there will be opportunities for your child to get more playing time and minutes on the floor with a B team or whatever team they deem fit. If it doesn't appear there are opportunities, you can choose to find a different team. I would however advice seeing the season through and finish what you started. Then tread water carefully if you switch teams.... not making it seem like your giving your child an easy way out. Give another reason to switch. Sometimes there is a benefit to not getting opportunities and getting challenged to get better. It's up to them to make it happen. Plenty of life lessons can be learned from sports... both from successes and failures.

Hope this helps.

Jeff Haefner

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