🏆 "Why isn't my kid playing?" How can coaches address this issue with parents?
Playing Time. Some parents struggle with it. Their child is not getting much playing time.
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"Why isn't my kid playing?" How can coaches address this issue with parents?
This Month's Newsletter is based on a very popular online post of mine about parents and playing time. I read an article many years ago (author unknown) on the concept of playing time and parents. This article, with my own experiences as a coach and parent, is the basis for this week's Newsletter!
PLAYING TIME: Some parents Struggle with it.
Lack of playing time can be difficult for parents.
How can PARENTS “Come to Grips” with a lack of playing time for their child? How can coaches or Activity Directors discuss playing time with parents?
I can speak to this 1st hand: As a Coach, as a Parent, and as an Administrator (Principal)
My own son was the 9th-10th man on our varsity BB team for two years. He was not in the core rotation - he didn’t play in most competitive games. I could have gotten angry at the coach.
Only one problem.
I was the coach.
I also helped coach my son's team for many years at the youth level. We always made sure ALL kids got quality playing time. It has always been my philosophy for grades 1-8. All kids who commit will get quality playing time.
But once kids get to the high school level, the focus shifts to winning and competition.
My son knew this. Would he have loved to play more? Sure. Would I have loved for him to play more? Sure. But, it is a team game and he was part of a very good team with very good players.
But he knew his role, he accepted his role. He was GREAT in his role.
And so was I.
Even though he was not getting a lot of playing time, he was a GREAT Leader on our team. He helped us win. And we had great success.
And what he learned from his high school basketball experiences are the same things that will make him very successful in the real world once he graduates from college.
All too often, we forget about the total value that team sports provide our kids. It is so much more than playing in a game on a Friday night.
Competitive team sports are different.
So what can parents do to “Come to Grips” with their child not playing much?
Here are some thoughts...
PARENTS #1: Accept the Struggle
Sports is all about Competition. Especially at the varsity level.
It is that simple.
You COMPETE with your opponents, you COMPETE with your teammates, and you COMPETE with yourself. Competition makes us all better. Life is about competition, each and every day.
And TEAM sports are about We > Me.
TEAM sports are about sacrifice, about what is best for the team.
And playing time is always EARNED. It is earned in practice, in the off-season, and based on the roles that the team needs at the time to be successful. Most kids know this. Here is a post I shared earlier this year about how players can earn more playing time.
How to Earn Playing Time:
✔️ Be trustworthy
✔️ Be the hardest worker on the team
✔️ Fill a role the team needs
✔️ Do the little things
✔️ Lead by example
✔️ Make the hustle plays
✔️ Encourage teammates
✔️ Make others better
✔️ Do “one more”
✔️ Be a winner
— Greg Berge (@gb1121)
Sep 12, 2022
But again, playing time is not everything. Team sports are much more than that.
The joy of team sports is in the process, the fight, and the STRUGGLE. It is not a shiny trophy or the prize in the end. That doesn’t last.
So rule #1 for Parents is to NOT Fight against the Struggle. ACCEPT the Struggle. Know that team sports will ALWAYS have struggles.
I do not care how successful a team is, there will be challenges and struggles along the way. There may be team drama, injuries, bantering, poor decisions, lack of commitment, and more.
This is what Team Sports are all about. And that is OK. It is also what LIFE is all about.
Parents Rule #1: Don’t fight against the struggle. ACCEPT the Struggle.
PARENTS #2: It is your child’s struggle, not yours.
Always remember this about sports.
It is your CHILD’S:
It is not yours.
All too often, parents get caught up in the middle of the struggle. Or they make the struggle their struggle.
Too often, parents use their child's experience to relive their own failed athletic experience.
Too often, when a child comes home and vents to their parents, the parents feel obligated to try and solve the struggle for their son or daughter.
Or, too often, a parent is so focused on playing time that this is what the child believes is at the center of the parent-child relationship.
PARENTS of Athletes:
Make sure your child KNOWS:
▪️ Your relationship with them is not centered on their playing time.
▪️ Your relationship with them is not centered on their performance.
▪️ You do support them no matter what.
▪️ You do love them no matter what.
— Greg Berge (@gb1121)
Jun 30, 2022
Parents, make sure the relationship with your child is not centered on playing time.
Parents, always remember that it is your child's experience and your role is to help "guide" them through the struggles and joys that come from this experience. You are really teaching them how to handle LIFE.
And how you guide them through the struggle of a season will probably be the same way you guide them through a struggle in their personal life in 10-15 years.
Parents Rule #2: SUPPORT, CHEER, and ENCOURAGE your child, but do not cross the line. Always remember it is their experience, not yours!
PARENTS #3: The struggle is not the enemy
The struggle is HOW your child becomes resilient & strong. Adversity makes us better. Do not be a snowplow parent = clear a path in front of your child so that they never face adversity. What happens when they hit the real world?
The struggle NEVER ends.
Post High School, the struggles get more serious:
- Health Issues
Your child will be much better prepared for these struggles in life.
And Parents... when you look back to see how your child handled these struggles, you will know that the lessons learned through team sports had a huge impact and positive influence on them.
Parents Rule #3: The struggle is not the enemy. Accept it!
Coaches and AD's, share this approach to playing time with your parents. It may not solve every issue, but the more you talk about it in your program, school, or team, the more you gradually change the culture of what team sports are all about.
Remember: Team sports teach about LIFE! Team Sports are the ultimate Lab Setting for the many challenges kids will face in adulthood.
This is why it is so important to work to develop our coaches, officials, parents, and more to keep providing these incredibly valuable experiences for our kids.
Coaches, thank you for all you do. Feel free to share this concept and story with others.
"The coaches can only do so much. At some point, the players have to take over the game." - Jerry Rice
"A successful person never loses. . . They either win or learn." - John Calipari
✅ the details
✅ the game plan
✅ their role
✅ in practice
✅ on game day
✅ under pressure
✅ against good teams
✅ against bad teams
✅ when ahead
✅ when behind
✅ when the game is on the line
If you want to be a CHAMPION
commit to consistent EXECUTION.
— Jeff Janssen 🇺🇦 (@janssenleader)
Oct 7, 2022
"All of us are addicted to tomorrow...but making it happen today is how you improve.” Nick Saban
— The Winning Difference (@thewinningdiff1)
Dec 12, 2021
A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You won't get very far until you fix it.
— Jamy Bechler (@CoachBechler)
May 27, 2022
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