As the summer tournament season is coming to a close, you can bet that there are a number of coaches that have reached a point of frustration. Maybe their players aren’t listening, leading them to continually make the same mistakes. Maybe the losses are starting to pile up.

No one likes to lose, and one of the first things that is going to come to a coach's mind when things aren’t going his or her way is to change the lineup. And it can be really tempting to reduce the playing time of your weakest players.

On competitive travel teams, not every player is necessarily going to play the same amount, but part of your job as a coach is to develop every player on your team.

“It is a tenet of good coaching that you get kids into games,” writes Jim Thompson, founder and CEO of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a US Lacrosse national partner. “Most of the benefits of playing a sport are tied to competing in games.”

Thompson’s blog in the PCA Development Zone (a great resource for coaches), gives some ideas for how to handle the playing time issue:

  • Good coaches use blowout games to get kids into games, but they do so BEFORE the game becomes a blowout.
  • Create a special unit with a specific role, giving an example of an Ohio high school basketball team that had its bottom five players play the last minute of the first quarter and the first minute of the second quarter of every game to great success.
  • Reward effort as much as talent.
  • Be as clear as possible about playing time expectations right from the beginning of the season.

Read the full blog here: