Playing time. Without a doubt, these are the two most charged words in youth sports, generating more positive and negative emotions among athletes, their parents and coaches than even the words "winning" and "losing." After 11 years of watching my five children play for about 50 different head coaches (one of them being me) on soccer, field hockey, basketball, ice hockey, baseball and lacrosse teams, I have devised a strong point of view about playing time, which can be summarized in 25 maxims:
▸ 1. The main reason kids play sports is not to have a chance to win games. The main reason kids play sports is to play.
▸ 2. Playing in games is fun. Rarely or never playing in games is boring and demoralizing.
▸ 3. The kids who get the most playing time have the most fun, improve the most and develop the strongest social bonds among their teammates. The kids who get the least playing time have the least fun, improve the least and are often excluded from the "in" social culture enjoyed by their teammates who play the most.