A challenge that a lot of basketball coaches face, primarily youth basketball coaches, is how to distribute playing time among their players. In professional basketball winning is everything, and so the players that give you the highest potential for winning would be the ones that will be getting the playing time. This is also true in college basketball and also at the high school level. In the matter of youth basketball however, there's a lot more for coaches to keep in mind.
In high school basketball, it's not uncommon for specific players to get the majority of the playing time, while other players spend most of their time warming the bench. A high school player that's at a lower level of skill, may only see a few minutes of playing time during the entire season. If the team is dominating a match and have a 20 or 30 point lead, the more skilled players are certain to get some rest and the bench warmers are certain to get some playing time. This will likely not make many of the players happy, but that's the way it is and the players can either choose to deal with it or quit the team. Things are a little more complicated on the subject of coaching younger kids.
In youth sports, winning isn't everything. Parents want their children to participate in sports to help them learn how to be part of a team, socialize, get exercise, discover how to cope with winning and losing etc. They are all valuable life lessons. Undoubtedly, you can make the argument that learning that life isn't fair also is a valuable life lesson. If some children had to spend the full season sitting on the bench while other players got most of the playing time, it wouldn't seem fair, however it may help prepare them for the way everything is in real life. There are a number of issues with that type of thinking however.
Although most coaches, players, and parents would definitely like to win games, children that never get to play will lose interest in participating. There is also parents that are paying money to take part in a league, buy uniforms, equipment etc. and these parents wish to see their children play. Most adults would also agree that learning about teamwork, sportsmanship, as well as some of the other life lessons mentioned previously, are certainly more important than winning. As the coach, you will need to find the balance between finding a way to win games, and ensuring that all of the players get to participate.
So how should a youth basketball coach go about distributing playing time among their players? In lots of youth basketball programs, coaches are strongly motivated to distribute playing time evenly, and in some organizations it can be even required that coaches split playing time evenly among their players.
If you're required, or strongly encouraged, to play all of your players for an equal time frame, the problem of precisely how to distribute playing time among your players really is dependent on simple organization and time management techniques. However, things are more complicated when everyone wants to win, but you also want to give everyone the ability to play. Those who are coaching elementary school students, winning and losing must not be the biggest focus of the game. As children get older, they have a stronger desire to win and the games results in being more competitive. It is at that moment that a coach must work out how they will distribute playing time.
Obviously, your team will probably have some players which are far better than others. In youth sports, the teams are separated into certain age groups, but even just a one or two year difference in age can equate to a big difference in size, athletic ability, as well as the overall level of skill of individual players. If you desire to win, there isn't any doubt which players will certainly receive more playing time. If you prefer everyone to be able to participate, you'll have to be able to put several of your best players on the bench and rotate in some of the other players to make certain that everyone gets a chance to play.
If you're planning to allow all of your players to participate but you are also aiming to win games, one important thing you can do will be to teach your players additional skills that will assist your team. Not every player will be capable of sink baskets and grab rebounds like a champion, but there are some other skills that most kids can learn that will help your team. Teach your players the best way to box out. A shorter kid that can't jump high might not be able to get rebounds, but they can box out opposing players to provide someone else on your team a better chance of obtaining a rebound. You can teach passing skills. Keep the ball moving as opposed to just letting the star player take on an opposing team by themselves. It is also wise to limit the total number of players on your team. If you can keep the amount of players on your team to 10 or less, it will be simpler to get everyone some playing time. With a lot more kids on the team, it gets increasingly hard to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to play.
How you will distribute playing time as the coach relies on several factors. One of the leading factors is the age of the kids you're coaching. Chances are the league you are participating in has published laws and regulations for you to follow in regards to playing time and player substitutions, and you need to certainly become familiar with the rules and guidelines for your league.