Another letter about playing time

Below is a note we recently received from a parent who is distressed at the playing time their daughter received. There are many questions we have such as, is this a competitive team or a recreation team and was there discussion about playing time prior to the season? It also seems like perhaps the amount of crying that occurred might be a symptom of more than simply an unjust coach. We hope to hear more on this situation and will post an update if we do.

My daughter for the 1st time in her life wanted to join a team sport.  She has been at all the basketball practices.

It is 5th and 6th grade girls.  It is apparent what girls are better.  And they have been working with a few others that are new to the game or rusty.  During the practices he scrimmages them all and then there are times when the rusty kids just sit on the benches.

  First game was last night.  5 of the girls played like 98% of the game the rusty girls played 2% and 2 girls never got off the bench.  My daughter was one of them. Sitting there til the 4th quarter the realization came over her that she was not going to play and started crying. I went by the team and said out loud, tell the coach you wanna play.  She did by nothing came of it.  It was not only heart breaking to watch but also pissed that several of us got off work early , trampled thru traffic, just to see her sit on the bench.

  Later when she was crying after the game, I said to stop crying there is time for that later (in the car) that she needs to congratulate the other player.  Another mom comforted her probably cuz she thought I was harsh.

We got in the car and she cried. I don’t want her to be a poor sport either but I certainly can share in her frustration.

Here are my thought about the whole thing.

My daughter want to practice and learn & be a better player.  Being a part of a team I think is great for anyone.  I would imagine that while the girls are starting out in 5th grade it is an opportunity for a coach to help every player be their best.

You can imagine that having a team player sit the entire game when the excitement and anticipation is high, how much that can just rob them of their self-esteem.  This is my number one reason I’m excited she joined.  This coach has all the power to make or break her 1st impression of a team sport.  We can all say it’s about being ON a team, but we can all agree it’s a different feeling when you keep sitting there.  I read the definition of a coach and that is to develop his team, nowhere does it say to win a game.  I can imagine that 1 or 2 minutes of putting her in would damage the game.  We lost anyways EVEN with the best player playing the entire game.  The kids aren’t applying for a scholarship and the coach is not making money or changing he=is status, maybe only his ego and trophy is at stake.  Since when is winning the most important thing for  5th or 6th  grade.  I think its ridicules.   I don’t expect him to play her much, but to sit them there just says to them and the other parents, those kids just aren’t good enough!

I think a great coach doesn’t just play his best players, but he helps players be their personal best!

There’s a meeting at 4 today with the coach and parents. Do you have time to offer any advice.  I want to voice my opinion.

I’ve seen some GREAT coaches and they make it about the kids.  They say play your best and have fun.  To me that’s a good coach!


3 Responses

  1. Until a coach is paid to win, then they should play all kids. It doesn’t have to be 50/50, but it should not be based on talent alone. Effort should be a basis for playing as well. Like the mother said, these kids aren’t playing for scholarships; in my opinion its always, always, always, the coach’s ego (and some parent’s as well) that put winning over development. I’m from the stance if you develop your players the right way, winning takes care of itself. I’ve seen too many youth teams fall short because they play their best players all the time, then come playoffs one of them can’t play, be it family vacation, injury, fouled out, whatever, and the kids coming off the bench aren’t prepared. On middle school and HS teams, I am ok with players who make a team get a chance to work out and practice equally in practices but play less during games, as long as they have a chance to contribute at some point. Sitting in practices is poor coaching. Period.

    As for the opening, I agree the question should be asked if playing time was discussed prior to the season, though the communication did break down as eident by this letter. As for it being competitive or rec, shame on you, coachdeck! These are 9, 10, and 11 year old girls! They should all get a chance to participate. No one should ever sit in practice unless its disciplinary.

    Also, shame on the mother for opening her mouth the way she did during the game and making a scene and embarrissing her daughter. This outburst was unncessary and the comments could have waited until the meeting.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure you read our response correctly as we also agreed that at this age there should never be a time that anyone sits out the entire game, regardless of whether it is recreational or “competitive.” And we weren’t talking at all about practices, but only games.

      Thanks again.

  2. […] us by a parent who had concerns over a daughter’s playing time on a basketball team. You can read it here if you missed it. We were unsure whether or not this team of 5th and 6th graders was designed to be […]

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