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Court Time

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Court Time

Playing time is a common point of contention between coaches, players, and parents. To create the most positive team culture possible, every effort should be made to play as many players as is reasonably possible. Good coaches can find spots to get kids in games. In order to allow a deeper substitution rotation, you can try to encourage players to play so hard that they will need to rest pretty quickly.

At the developmental level, coaches should make a point to mix it up and have different players start and sit so that particular players don't get categorized early on as non-starters or subs. Players who are not competing should have duties and activities on the bench to keep them engaged and feeling like an important part of the team. Have a sitting player watch the teammate that plays his position or the opponent he might guard or have him keep track of things statistically.

At the very youngest levels, since they all pay the same amount of money and train for the same amount of time, they all get the same court time! It's about development anyway. Players notice everything, so rotate the starting five from game to game. Give different players a chance in the jump ball (for some reason this is important to them!), carrying the basketballs, in-bounding, et cetera. Rotate the five that finish games.

That being said, it is important to note that some players also earn playing time with exceptional effort and commitment. It is a great lesson for those players to be rewarded for that and to be encouraged to continue (a positive side effect of this is that others might strive to get "rewarded" too). Not all of the life lessons learned in sports are rainbows and butterflies, however, so players could also lose playing time as a result of a lack of effort and/or commitment (within organizational guidelines)



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