The Bleachers Talk

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Navigating Youth Athlete Playing Time Concerns: Tips for Parents

Sep 28, 2023

Playing time can be a significant source of stress for both youth athletes and their parents. Many parents find themselves frustrated and confused when their child's playing time decreases, wondering what steps to take. To address this issue effectively, here are two crucial tips:

  1. Speak With the Coach: Initiate a private and respectful conversation with your child's coach to understand the specific reasons for the reduced playing time. Request detailed feedback on the sports skills, practice habits, or personal attitude characteristics that need improvement to earn more playing time. Remember that youth coaches may not always be experts in athlete development and may not show favoritism. Open communication with the coach can shed light on the situation and provide valuable insights for improvement.
  2. Improve Skill Development: Regardless of the coach's feedback, it's essential to recognize that coaches ultimately aim to win. Invest in extra sports training or work with your child to enhance their sports-related skills. Help them understand the connection between skill development and playing time. Encourage them to incorporate 2-4 hours of additional skill development into their weekly routine, enabling rapid improvement in their sports-specific abilities.

Fluctuations in playing time from year to year are part of the journey for many athletes, including professional ones. The goal is not to be the best at a young age but to excel in one's 20s and beyond. Open communication with coaches and dedicated skill development can pave the way for more playing time and contribute to your young athlete's long-term success. Remember that ups and downs are part of the path to mastery, and with determination, your child can overcome challenges and thrive in their athletic pursuits.


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