Playing Time – Entitlement or Earned?

September 19th, 2011 by Admin

Soccer playing timeI had two parent meetings this week.  Both sets of parents were unhappy with the amount of time their children were on the field at a tournament they attended  two weeks ago. Some concerns they cited were that they were spending a significant amount of time traveling, paying for meals for the family, hotel accommodation and they were not satisfied with the return in their investment. They were concerned that their children were not playing as much as they would like.

This is what they thought they were paying for. Not to watch their children sit on the bench. We had to explain that they were paying for the training environment, field maintenance, referee fees, coaches salaries, league fees, uniforms, and registration with the state. Not for  playing time. I also mentioned that the coaches would like a return on their investment of time and energy they put into helping the kids improve and teaching them life lessons.

Both players play for the same team, so this was quite interesting. They are both very talented but they are U16 players now, so I expect much more from them. I do not coach the team, but I am very familiar with the players. To make a long story short, one of them is lazy and the other has a low soccer IQ. I explained to the parents that if we guaranteed playing time of 50% at this age, then why would anyone want to excel?

The incentive for proper practice habits is playing. Nothing given to players is appreciated, because they do not acknowledge the work required to play at the competitive level. We want everyone to play, but they all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Certainly at the younger age groups we want all kids enjoying the game through participation. The players have to understand as they become older that they earn the right to be on the field. This promotes proper training habits. This is of the utmost importance because without it there is no enjoyment of the game and no fulfillment derived.

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