• March 04, 2020


Some thoughts from Sport for Life

The Benefits of Equal Playing Time for the Youth Athlete:

  • Avoid contention among players. Youth are sensitive to and intuitive with favouritism regardless of the intention of the coach. Perceived favouritism demoralizes players, creates resentment, and they fail to try their best. In the worst-case scenario, they give up the sport. Team wins at the experience of individual self-esteem are in fact, losses.
  • Minimize player fatigue. If the top players get exhausted due to too much playing time, and the other players have limited game experience, it could cost the whole team in tough physical games.
  • Maximize player development. People learn by doing and without access to playing time and game-specific situations, players cannot learn. “Competitiveness” of sport should be about self-improvement and setting attainable goals. Winning is inherent in sport and is difficult to de-emphasize. However, winning at the cost to the individual impedes player, team, and club development as well as the advancement of sport.
  • Active for life. Players may choose to play soccer as a purely recreational activity regardless of their level of ability of disability. Soccer can be enjoyed as an integral part of any personal lifelong wellness plan. Adult players can also become active in the coaching and administration of the sport. The recruitment and retention of players, coaches, referees and administrators is key to the ongoing development of both grassroots and elite soccer in Canada.

The Benefits of Equal Playing.Time for the Coach (in addition to those listed above):

  • Avoid contention/confrontation between coaches and parents. Parents will not objectively judge their own child’s ability and coaches should not expect objectivity from parents. If each team member is shown respect, fairness, and given the opportunity to play and develop, parents will not need to judge.
  • Simplify coaching decisions. Exposing players to all situation means that coaches do not need to guess about who can do what or handle what. Knowing what your athletes can do in a game situation makes coaching easier.
  • Improve team chemistry. Focus comes when players perceive that everyone is being treated fairly and working as a team. Plus, athletes who are having fun have better games and practice attendance.

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Coach Responses

Do you integrate equal playing time with you team? If so, how do you do it?

Does it alter during big games or championship weekends?

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