3 Ways to Deal with Playing Time
One of the hardest things for players, parents, and coaches to deal with is the issue of role playing and minutes played.
I’m a firm believer that in reality everyone is a role player; it doesn’t matter how big your role is (or what it is), you have a job that you’re expected to do no matter what. For some players that may mean that they need to be a main offensive threat. For others, that may mean that they’re a defensive stopper. Some players may be asked to be mostly a practice player who is trying to help improve the team.
I think that one of the keys to help building a team that has everyone playing their part comes down to three things:
1) Clearly defined roles – Players need to know exactly what is expected of them. As a coach, it is our job to tell them what is expected of them. Not that they can’t do more, or have their role expand, but players need the guidance to help point them in a given direction. While they may not like or agree with what your expectations are of them, at least if they know what they are, you’ve established a baseline from which to build upon.
2) Recognition – I think one of the biggest mistakes is not acknowledging players, especially role players, during practice. Often times we get so caught up in pointing out what needs to be corrected, that we often forget what is being done well. I can tell you that some of my highest levels of confidence in sports came when a coach acknowledged to me that they saw something “small” that I was doing and pointed it out. Remember, as a coach, you should be coaching what you want to see. If you want players to communicate, praise those who are talking. It’s amazing how much we love to hear good things said about ourselves and what it can do for ones confidence. Next time your 12 guy on the team boxes out, puts himself in proper defensive position, or talks make sure to let him/her know and make sure everyone else knows and sees it too!
3) Honesty – One of the greatest traits of a human is their ability to honest. Not honest in the sense of being brutally honest and downright mean, but honest in the sense of telling someone what they think and where they stand. I think honesty ties back into point number 1, in that as coaches you have to tell players where they stand. If you think that they need to improve their basketball IQ, you need to tell them that. While they may not agree, at least they know where they stand. In addition, be honest about how and where you think that they can help the team. A player should never be on a team “just because.” Every player should have a functional and productive role so that they can contribute to the big picture.