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coachmiket
(@coachmiket)
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December 13, 2019 4:32 am  

Just curious what everyone's thoughts are when it comes to cutting players at the junior high level.  In this case I am talking about 8th grade girls basketball.

We have 12 players out for the team.  1-7 are clearly good enough to keep. 8-9 have shown enough in two days of tryouts that I know I will keep them. 10 is weak but showed me more than 11 and 12 did in day two.  11 and 12 did show very small glimpses of improvement on day two, but they are not actually good and have never played so they are so very far behind the curve it will be a long journey for them.

Playing time is tough because the games are so short.  Keeping 12 would mean that 10-12 probably only get about a minute per game each in close games.  If it's purely about basketball, I cut and keep 10.  But there is a voice in my head telling me that it's about more than basketball.  Especially for girls at this age.  One player told me before tryouts that she was too afraid last year but this year she was trying to overcome her anxiety issues and put herself out there more.  Should knowing something like that factor into the decision?  At this moment I am leaning towards keeping them all and coaching them all up. With the understanding, I'll have this discussion with the bottom of the roster, that I can't guarantee much playing time but I expect them to be good teammates and work as hard as everyone else.  Actually, I give that message to all players, but you know what I mean.

Thoughts?


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G8trs
(@g8trs)
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December 13, 2019 5:47 am  

I would listen to the voice in your head. Players 11 and 12 may need the sport more than you know. I think it is harder for kids to put themselves out there and play sports these days because it is so easy for them to sit on their phones and play video games. This sucks because there are so many life lessons to be learned playing sports.

I would explain to them that their play will be limit to start and it will increase as they show signs of improvement. I would try to motivate them with playing time. Who knows you might find a couple diamonds in the rough. If not you still have the opportunity to make a difference in a young persons life. Just my 2 cents


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
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December 13, 2019 8:09 am  

I believe that if you are open and honest about the situation and they decide they still want to play, Keep them. 

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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53
 53
(@_53_)
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December 13, 2019 11:09 am  

Will you not play a JV schedule as well. I know our middle school basketball teams do.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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December 13, 2019 11:44 am  

The way I do it, and the way that I've always done it, is as long as you are willing to do what we ask, then you are on the team.  The question is never "Who will I cut?"  The question is, "How much are you willing to go through all this?"  If 100 players are willing to walk through hot coals in their bare feet in order to play for us, then by golly I'm giving them all a uniform. 

I don't cut players because players will definitely come to their own decision about whether the sacrifice and work is worth the uniform.  So they decide if they will play for me.  I don't make the decision.  They do.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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gumby_in_co
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December 13, 2019 2:11 pm  

At this moment I am leaning towards keeping them all and coaching them all up. With the understanding, I'll have this discussion with the bottom of the roster, that I can't guarantee much playing time but I expect them to be good teammates and work as hard as everyone else.  Actually, I give that message to all players, but you know what I mean.

Thoughts?

My daughter was bullied mercilessly in MS. Then she decided to start playing hockey. She was the worst player on the worst all-girls team in the state, but that didn't matter. It profoundly changed her life. She started carrying herself differently and others took notice. She stood up for herself to a "mean girl" to the point that the bully missed a week of school. I actually got called in tot talk about my daughter's "aggressive behavior".

So in my eyes, girls' sports is MUCH more about the sport. Girls who participate in sports are less likely to be abused sexually, physically and emotionally. No brainer, IMHO. You'll find a way to make it work.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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ThunderFootball
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coachmiket
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December 16, 2019 3:45 am  

Thanks for everyone weighing in.

I did not cut anyone and I know it was the right decision.  I talked to our returning players as one group to let them know they all made the team and also explained to them that I was keeping everyone on the team and some of the reasoning behind it and that I was going to rely on their experience to continue helping these new girls and being supportive.  They were great through tryouts being supportive and helping explain things on the side.

When I talked to the last two players, I had them as their own duo that I talked to.  I think they both figured they were being cut.  I thanked them for their efforts and let them know that I could see improvements in the three days.  I also explained that since they were new to the sport that there was still a lot of room to grow, then made statement that as long as they were willing to show up everyday, have a good attitude and work their butts off, with the understanding that they may not get much game action, that I was ready to welcome them to the team.  One girl was speechless and smiling, the other girl broke down in tears.

I knew in my heart keeping them all was the right thing to do.  My wife called me before tryouts to make sure I was not cutting them!  Later that night when I told her about the girl crying when I told her my decision my wife says, "you didn't cut her, did you!?!"  ;D  No, these happy tears.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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December 16, 2019 6:41 am  

When I talked to the last two players, I had them as their own duo that I talked to.  I think they both figured they were being cut.

That's a really nice technique you used.  You had their complete attention.  And I'm sure their appreciation for making the team is even greater.  I'll bet that you won't be able to peel those uniforms away from them now.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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jrk5150
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December 16, 2019 7:17 am  

Mike - nice job.

I had something similar a few years ago with 7th-8th grade boys, I was the AC.  City travel team.  We were a B team, in this case a "lesser" team at a lower division (by talent).  We had to cut, but chose to keep 12 (against everyone's recommendations, normal roster was 10) for a variety of reasons - it was actually mostly my idea.  Ultimately I think it was a good idea, but it was HELL to implement and get the kids playing time when all 12 showed up. What we should have done is something similar to what you did - tell the bottom 3-4 on our roster that they weren't going to get much playing time, but we'd try to get them in every weekend (we usually had two games per weekend).  We didn't, and it contributed a lot of stress to the two of us, LOL.

In hindsight, right decision for the reasons I advocated for it.


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coachmiket
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December 16, 2019 9:11 am  

That's a really nice technique you used.  You had their complete attention.  And I'm sure their appreciation for making the team is even greater.  I'll bet that you won't be able to peel those uniforms away from them now.

--Dave

Thanks Dave.

I typically inform players of these decisions in small groups and I try to group them according to the specific message I want to convey to that set of players.


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coachmiket
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December 16, 2019 9:18 am  

Mike - nice job.

I had something similar a few years ago with 7th-8th grade boys, I was the AC.  City travel team.  We were a B team, in this case a "lesser" team at a lower division (by talent).  We had to cut, but chose to keep 12 (against everyone's recommendations, normal roster was 10) for a variety of reasons - it was actually mostly my idea.  Ultimately I think it was a good idea, but it was HELL to implement and get the kids playing time when all 12 showed up. What we should have done is something similar to what you did - tell the bottom 3-4 on our roster that they weren't going to get much playing time, but we'd try to get them in every weekend (we usually had two games per weekend).  We didn't, and it contributed a lot of stress to the two of us, LOL.

In hindsight, right decision for the reasons I advocated for it.

Thanks John.

It will definitely be tough getting these girls into the games.  12 players on the team and we play 6 minute quarters.  And the top 8 or so players are good enough to keep us competitive in every game.  I'll manage it.  And that's why I like to lay it out there right up front.  I make a promise to the players that as long as they are coming to practice, being great teammates and working their butts off and there are no outlying factors (grades, other disciplinary reasons), they will play in every single game.  I explain that it might be for just a minute in the 2nd quarter and they may never go back in after that, but I promise they will play if they hold up their end of the deal.

In 5 years there was one instance where I failed to get a girl into the game.  14 girls on the team. 3rd quarter, I'm checking my rotation sheet and about to go talk to the girl on the bench and tell her she is going into the game.  Then someone in the game got injured and required my attention and I totally lost sight of getting that other girl into the game.  Game ends and the teacher that was doing the book says "hey, so and so didn't play."  I reviewed the scorebook, looked at my rotation sheet and immediately felt horrible.  She was not a good player, spoke broken english and missed several practices. I talked to her immediately and apologized and promised it would never happen again.  But also asked her to make a more serious commitment to attending practice.

As you can tell, I still feel bad about that one oversight.


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Coach E
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December 17, 2019 12:01 pm  

I was going to chime in with also keeping all of them. Yeah, subbing is hell, but it'll be worth it for those kids you kept. Shout out also to the others about what it means for girls to participate. You understand more than most. Can you imagine what your own kid would be like without basketball in her life?

I'm a big believer in equal playing time for equal effort all the way up to (but not including) varsity. Kids don't get better playing in games if they don't get to play in games. (I have a rant for a different day about our varsity program here.) I believe you'll find a way to make it work. To borrow from another coach here to the parents: "As close to equal playing time as I can get, but the last two minutes are mine."

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.- Marcus Aurelius


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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December 19, 2019 9:11 am  

I'm a big believer in equal playing time for equal effort all the way up to (but not including) varsity.

What's different?

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Coach E
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December 19, 2019 10:59 am  

What's different?

--Dave

Dang it, Coach. You always make me articulate my most shakily held positions.

Varsity just seems to be different in that in trying to win, you want the best players at each position. (That's not to say that ONLY those players are in the game.) If there are three centers and one is clearly better than the others in whatever way matters to your offense, he should get the majority of snaps in a varsity game. However, provided centers 2 and 3 are putting in the same effort, they should be splitting time in JV games in order to both get better and possibly challenge #1. As #2 and #3 get better/stronger/whatever, then there can be subbing in more varsity games and they make one another better.

What I have seen is #1 gets locked in place regardless, #2 gets the vast majority of snaps in JV games (80% or more) and #3 is told to "do better". I don't know the thought process, but what happens is the #1s start to not work as hard, #2s are told "next year for sure" and the #3s quit.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.- Marcus Aurelius


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