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CoachC.
(@coachcreswell)
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September 5, 2012 8:59 am  

I am working on my letter to parents for next year when I take over the MS team. That's if I don't change my mind about doing it, anyway I am looking for a certain part I have seen on here before about playing time, something to the effect of "we can talk about anything about X but playing time will never be discussed with parents at any time. Anyone have that anywhere. Thanks


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kcdeer
(@kcdeer)
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September 5, 2012 9:15 am  

Doesn't coaching a MS team give you a different perspective than the typical youth or Pop Warner coach?  When a parent signs up their son for Pop Warner, for example, it is pretty clear that the kid is assured a certain number of MPR plays..they know that going in.  Playing for a MS team may havbe different, or no minimum play requirements..I think you need to address that issue before you issue a proclamation that playing time will not be discussed.  If you have a blowout game and 22 kids and 6 do not see any action, then playing time might be a legitimate bone of contention for one of those 6 sets of parents, especially with user fees, mandatory volunteerism and booster activities or what have you.  Also, if there is a MS AD, he/she probably does not want to be blindsided with phone calls about Junior's playing time because the coach refuses to discuss it.  In any event, may have to fine-tune that parent letter for your situation.


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CoachC.
(@coachcreswell)
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September 5, 2012 9:21 am  

Doesn't coaching a MS team give you a different perspective than the typical youth or Pop Warner coach?  When a parent signs up their son for Pop Warner, for example, it is pretty clear that the kid is assured a certain number of MPR plays..they know that going in.  Playing for a MS team may havbe different, or no minimum play requirements..I think you need to address that issue before you issue a proclamation that playing time will not be discussed.  If you have a blowout game and 22 kids and 6 do not see any action, then playing time might be a legitimate bone of contention for one of those 6 sets of parents, especially with user fees, mandatory volunteerism and booster activities or what have you.  Also, if there is a MS AD, he/she probably does not want to be blindsided with phone calls about Junior's playing time because the coach refuses to discuss it.  In any event, may have to fine-tune that parent letter for your situation.

I agree, if we are blowing someone out, or if we are the ones getting blown out then yes those who haven't played very much will see playing time. No I don't have a AD, but none the less playing time is not up for discussion. If I can't find it again I'll wing it.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Posts: 17469
North Carolina
High School
September 5, 2012 3:29 pm  

No I don't have a AD, but none the less playing time is not up for discussion.

Why not?  Do you feel like you aren't capable of giving a good answer?

--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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CoachC.
(@coachcreswell)
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September 5, 2012 4:38 pm  

Why not?  Do you feel like you aren't capable of giving a good answer?

--Dave

It's not that I can't give a good answer, It's just not open for discussion period. We can talk about what the kid needs to do to get better etc..., but never playing time.


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PBTide
(@pbtide)
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September 5, 2012 5:08 pm  

Coach, not picking on you at all here, but I think Dave makes a great point.  I hear a lot of coaches who have topics they will or will not talk to parents about.  I don't really understand that.  Personally, I think as coaches it is our duty, responsibility, and obligation to discuss anything with parents they want to talk about.  I don't see why playing time should be excluded.  After all, you as a coach are making the best decisions you can based on a variety of factors, and I think most parents understand that.  You hear a lot about "playing favorites" and "the coach likes this kid because (___insert answer here___").  We all know that isn't the case, unless it is, at which point you would expect to hear, "it's not open for discussion" instead of a rational answer.

Our Defense Coordinator told me today about a phone call from a parent, a good parent, of a good kid, who said, "Jimmy Joe is really disappointed he got moved back into the line from linebacker.  He really had his heart set on LB.  Just wanted to let you know."  Our Defensive Coordinator gave him what I think is a logical, and reasonable answer.  He said something to the effect of, "Jimmy Joe is having trouble hitting the gaps aggressively, so he's not ready to help the team there.  He's doing a great job on the line, and we will keep working with him."  The parent thanked him, and that was that. 

Now what do you reckon the response would have been if he had said, "playing time is not open for discussion, period?"

"If you throw the football, four things can happen and three of them are bad.  It can be incomplete, it can be intercepted, or somebody might shoot your receiver from the stands." - Coach Paul Bryant


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CoachC.
(@coachcreswell)
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September 5, 2012 5:58 pm  

Coach, not picking on you at all here, but I think Dave makes a great point.  I hear a lot of coaches who have topics they will or will not talk to parents about.  I don't really understand that.  Personally, I think as coaches it is our duty, responsibility, and obligation to discuss anything with parents they want to talk about.  I don't see why playing time should be excluded.  After all, you as a coach are making the best decisions you can based on a variety of factors, and I think most parents understand that.  You hear a lot about "playing favorites" and "the coach likes this kid because (___insert answer here___").  We all know that isn't the case, unless it is, at which point you would expect to hear, "it's not open for discussion" instead of a rational answer.

Our Defense Coordinator told me today about a phone call from a parent, a good parent, of a good kid, who said, "Jimmy Joe is really disappointed he got moved back into the line from linebacker.  He really had his heart set on LB.  Just wanted to let you know."  Our Defensive Coordinator gave him what I think is a logical, and reasonable answer.  He said something to the effect of, "Jimmy Joe is having trouble hitting the gaps aggressively, so he's not ready to help the team there.  He's doing a great job on the line, and we will keep working with him."  The parent thanked him, and that was that. 

Now what do you reckon the response would have been if he had said, "playing time is not open for discussion, period?"

A dial tone?


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
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Illinois
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September 5, 2012 7:11 pm  

The discussion is short and should have already been had with the player by the header and most certainly their position coaches.  I have several kids on the bubble on our Rec Team.  Not quick enough or smallish but I find ways to get them time because they are working hard to get there.  Some kids wont get any because they either aren't paying attention, aren't putting for an effort, or just need "a lot" of work.  I have one young man this year very small first season playing and he tells me honestly if he thinks he can do the job or not.  For that reason alone he gets a few plays here and there when he says he is confident he can do it.  I will give my honest opinion on why their time is limited based on what we see in practice and their progression.  I back it up with what they need to work on to challenge the starter.  Competition for the job makes all better. 

There is a difference between facts based observations and wining it.  I just don't open it for Debate with the players agent.  I have had some kids for 5 years now and a few still cant perform the basic tasks with any consistency.  They have also been told by me that unless they start listening and doing what I know they can do, they will see very limited time.  I have emailed parents about same as well which keeps the conversations to a minimum. 

Fact is that these same kids can be All Conference in High School.  Nurture the interest.  I have heard it said more than once kid like being on winning teams.  I submit that there will come a time for every one of them when they truly believe that simply being on the roster isnt good enough.  Thats when you know you have a "Player" in the makings. He is tired of playing second fiddle!!  Thats a good thing.  😉

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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Loftdawg
(@loftdawg)
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September 5, 2012 7:28 pm  

Probably not the feedback you wanted but I told my parents they could ask me anything they wanted, but that they needed to be prepared to get an honest answer.

I also told them that we were out of youth ball and it wasn't about the kids anymore, it was about the team and it's success. And that this meant guys were going to play positions that best helped the team and that we would put players in that had earned time by working hard.

It does help that our league runs weekly JV games for programs like ours that have 50+ kids at each grade level. So guys that don't play Saturday get game time during the week.

Anyway, my .02. If you do include that in the letter, you may want to explain that you are perfectly willing to discuss playing time with the players and what it would take to earn more time. Because you would discuss it with them, right?


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CowboyCoach
(@cowboycoach)
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September 6, 2012 6:47 am  

As a parent of a middle school player I don't feel like his coaches have any obligation to discuss anything with me unless it has a bearing on the health or safety of my child.  However, they do have an obligation to discuss with my child his role on the team and their expectations.

But that's just me.  I would NEVER question my son's playing time or position.


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spidermac
(@spidermac)
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Posts: 2440
September 6, 2012 12:28 pm  

Neat topic...

My son is playing his first season of middle school ball...I love the staff so far...they had the mandatory parent meeting on the day they issued equipment and lockers...so they knew every parent would show up, because they had to bring their kid...

What coach said about communicating with them was that he would discuss anything with us that you wanted except play calling. He said they won't humor questions like "Why don't we throw more?" or "Why don't we pass more?" He indicated that the coaches had the knowledge required to run a successful program, they know the systems and they will know the boys and their capacities and will do what they need to do for the boys to have success.

He told us how playing time worked...the players earn it...by working hard in practice and acting right in class (and in between classes and lunch too). He said he would welcome discussions about what junior could do differently to earn more playing time.

As far as positions were concerned, he didn't talk to much about it. I spoke to my son about how things were working, and he indicated that they were allowed to go to whatever area looked interesting to them. He went with the recievers on O and the DL on D. Some boys who were obviously not QB material were sent someplace else after the coaches saw them give it a try, same with the other positions as well. First day of pads was Tuesday, he went with the recievers again and they ran some routes and then coach started giving them their specific positions.... X, X, Z, H, S, Y, Y, X, Z and when he came to my son he said "Line"  ;D I guess my son's body language showed he was a little disappointed, so coach told him "Do a good job for me there, and when we put in our 'Big' package I will make sure you get some reps at TE".  I asked him where they put him on the line and he surprised me, he said C. I asked how that was going, he said great...all of his snaps were fine, the QB's either caught them or he could hear them hit their breast plates  ::)

Anyway...my .02, let them ask, answer them honestly....

None of them suck, they just haven't found what the kid is good at yet.


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DL
 DL
(@daniel-lyons)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 4984
September 6, 2012 1:19 pm  

If a guy's kid doesn't play I think it's okay to call and ask why.

I coached public MS a long time ago and got those calls a lot.  No weight classes, anyone could play.  They didn't even check birth certificates or anything.     

Simple answer I gave was I played 22 kids as starters and he isn't one of best 22 in my opinion.  (There was like 28 kids on team and bottom 6 were a lot worse then top 22).  I was 21 years old at time too.

They said is winning so important that you can't play all the kids? 

I said it is competitive football and not AYSO (soccer league where their motto was everybody plays) and every other team in the league is playing 13 or 14 players with multiple 2 way starters.

I am trying to balance competition and development, but I feel like it is fair at this level that every kid compete and win a position and get to play that position.  I simply don't have enough positions to start everyone.    I am still developing the kid in practice and he is getting equal time in every drill or scrimmage (I scrimmaged a lot back then). 

The other aspect was those kids were sorely mismatched against another teams starters at that level and they were in serious danger of injury.

I said I will get them playing time during the games in non-crucial situations and if we are ahead or behind. 

They were usually not happy with the conversation, but it was what it was.


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