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Coaches' Corner

The Coaches' Corner is a blog featuring posts written by Cal North Coaches. 


How coaches can answer the question “What do I need to do to get more playing-time?”

Cal North


Dr. Carol Dweck’s research on self-esteem illustrates the significance of focusing the athlete’s behavior toward factors they can control (for example, effort and improvement, read Dr. Dweck’s "Mindet" for further evidence). Playing time is not always under the athletes control because it’s difficult to control the behavior of others. For example, let’s say the 12th player on the team asks the coach "what do I need to do to get more playing time?", and the coach reply’s "you need to do improve your possession & speed of play", and the 12th player goes away and improves by 10%. However, if the 13th, 14th & 15th player on the team ask the same question and improve 20%. It therefore becomes difficult for the coach to increase playing time for the 12th player (especially if players 1-11 make similar improvements).

Here’s how the coach might respond to the playing-time question; "I want you to focus on controllable factors such as the effort with which you put forth in closing down the opponents’ defenders. Your strength is your long-range shooting, but an area to improve would be the quality of your first touch. Here’s how to improve this aspect…...However, I can’t provide you with playing time promises because it places your emphasis on factors you can’t necessarily control. I want you to focus on what you can control, and that is your effort and improvement". No promises of playing-time are provided, however particularly at the recreational level, it is important that the coach considers effort and improvement when assessing playing time. Sport Psychologist Dr. Alan Goldberg eloquently explains how questions about playing time should be considered. You might want to show this video clip to your parents at the start of every season…

Good luck (sorry, I should say good effort – luck is not controllable!!!),
Paul Sapsford, DoC CYSA

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