Playing Time

Over the years I have (fortunately) had very few difficult conversations with players or parents about “playing time”. I think part of the reason is that I have always tried to be very clear regarding the expectations that will lead to playing time.

benchOne of the best pieces I have seen that articulates clearly what “playing time” and the “depth chart” will be based on, I “borrowed” from coach Greg Oder, the Head Football Coach at Blue Springs South High School, several years ago. We included this Player Placement piece in our Players Manual, which we required the athletes (and parents) to read and sign prior to the first practice.

Player Placement:

Every player would like to be a starter on our Football Team. Unfortunately, this is not possible. The coaching staff will determine who will start. Consequently, I feel it is important for you to understand how we will determine depth charts as practice progresses.

The following five points will be:

  1. Knowledge of assignment – we cannot and will not play people who do know their assignments. Your position coach will spend extra time with you if you so desire. Everyone can and should know their assignments.
  1. Hustle and effort – everyone will be expected to give 100% at all times. Your teammates will be giving 100% and they will be expecting that you will also. Extra effort wins games.
  1. Hitting and mental toughness – we will discover during Summer and Fall training who has a strong desire to be physical. Football is a contact sport and must be played with a great deal of toughness. Everyone can hit.
  1. Contribution to the overall team – the individual who motivates his teammates to do better, is always enthusiastic and ready, will make a greater contribution than one who does not have this quality.
  1. Talent – If the above four characteristics are equal – and they should be – then the young man who produces on the field in the way of making plays will start.

We explain to the athletes in our program that part of our job (at the varsity level) is to put the best players, the players who give us the best chance to be successful, on the field Friday nights. If we were not doing that, if we were just playing “our favorites” then we would not be doing a very good job of coaching. The preceding Player Placement document articulates nicely what constitutes the “best players” in our program.

Thanks again to Coach Oder for sharing this document with me years ago!

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