Playing Time

Good coaches get players into the game.

Playing time is one of the most common sources of frustration for many parents, coaches and athletes. Positive Coaching Alliance has a simple guideline: good coaches get players into the game. Players who stay on the bench don’t benefit as much from sport. When they feel they are an integral part of the success of the team, they will continue to have fun and work hard.

Coaches, especially 1st-time coaches, should have strategies for getting all their players into games for meaningful minutes, not just “garbage time” of a blowout. Coaches ought to have all players feeling successful, and not like the underdog every time they get playing time. For example, consider in advance the situations in which you as a coach can rotate in non-starters. Tips on how to rotate in all players can be found within this document written by Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson (@JimThompson18).

Parents can also find strategies for dealing with coaches who won’t budge on playing time. This is a critical component for your child’s success and it is important to make sure the coaches and parents are on the same page.


Positive Coaching Alliance develops BETTER ATHLETES, BETTER PEOPLE through resources for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes. In addition to 1,000+ free audio-video and printable tips and tools, PCA has partnered with roughly 3,000 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to deliver live group workshops, online courses and books that help those involved in youth and high school sports create a positive, character-building youth sports culture.

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