GeneralYouth Sports

Fair Playing Time in Youth Sports

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Playing time is very important to young athletes.

Not only does playing time increase the skills that players have, but also has an important impact on their self-worth, as the less a time player sees on the field, the less enthusiastic they will feel about their talents and the team.

Because of this, it is important that playing time be discussed with a coach before the season begins, in order to establish what his or her priorities are and how he or she will be deploying his or her young charges. A youth sports program that has great AAU Basketball Teams focused on developing it players and getting its players fair playing time is STACK Sports in Mahwah, NJ.

Unfortunately, there are some coaches that tend to abuse the concept of “fair distribution of time,” keeping the starters in when the game is clearly out of hand. Others play their “favorite” players, in the hopes of grooming them for further competition or just because they are related. Still others attempt to circumvent rules that dictate what constitutes fair playing time, using loopholes to keep their stars in or only putting the subs in for the final few minutes.

These are decisions made by coaches who care only about winning. Yes, winning the little league championship or whatever equivalent there may be for other sports is a nice feeling, but it is not worth knocking some young athletes down to raise others up. Youth sports is supposed to be about giving children and young adults a healthy activity that teaches them the value of hard work and determination, but by showing them that players who skip practice but are still “stars” continue to get the same amount of playing time, it totally discounts this lesson.

While almost no young athlete is going to complain about getting too much playing time, there is the very real possibility that some players are getting too much training, fatiguing them and negatively impacting their lives outside sports. Too much playing time may cause young athletes to burn out of the sport due to weariness or a desire to try something different. When this occurs, the replacement players who didn’t receive enough attention are going to have to play, and they often won’t be competing at a high enough level thanks to the coach’s previous lack of interest in their development.

Therefore, playing by the rules of fair playing time in youth sports is important. Not only will playing everyone the amount of time they are due allow the backups to grow, it will give the starters a much-needed break, keeping them fresh for the future.

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