Minimum Play Players, Favoritism, & Parents

I planned to write about defense today, but I received an email last night which begs me to address minimum play players, favoritism and parents in today’s blog post.  My coaches and I rank our players each week and use these rankings to determine who will start and what positions they will play.  I develop a depth chart each week from these rankings.  I do not believe in favoritism.  Our players win a starting position based on intelligence, physical abilities, football skill and football knowledge.  Just because a player is a top starting player and plays a majority of downs, does not equate to favoritism, it equates to smart coaching.  Coaches should field their best talent. 

In today’s youth sports, many coaches must weigh fielding the best talent and playing the minimum play players.  How do you weigh the needs of the team above the needs of one to three minimum play players (MPP) and their vocal parents?   This question frustrates me each week.  I want all my players playing every play of the game.  I want all players getting a good rest on the sidelines.  I want everyone to score a touch down.  But the reality is, this is not Drake and Josh afternoon TV.  Some players are not ready to play more than the mandatory minimum plays.  I want to win American Idol but I can’t hold a note.  Should the network force American Idol to allow me to sing at least once in front of National TV audience?  I doubt it. 

But many MPP parent’s feel the coaches are playing favorites by not playing thier children more.  I am sure there maybe a minority of coaches playing favorites, but if your child can contribute to the team then your child will play more.  I’ll guarantee it. 

One last point that I find surprising.  Why doesn’t anyone talk about the starter who must sit out while someone takes his place?  How do they feel?  Are they upset that we substituted a player in the game that does not do the work required to play the position?  Who is speaking up for the starting player and their feelings? 

If I had one wish as a coach, I would wish that all the players on my team were starters.  Now that would solve my problem.  Although, I have 24 players on my team.  Hmmm, I needed to be more specific.  It’s always something!

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84 Comments

Filed under Youth Coaching

84 responses to “Minimum Play Players, Favoritism, & Parents

  1. Doug

    My son plays both youth football and baseball. He does well and plays more or less based primarily on what age level he is in any given year.

    The problem I have is dealing with a greater level of favoritism than just games. He is now the youngest player on his Little League All-star team. He had a great year during regular season and his team was one of the top teams in the entire district. However, now the Allstar coaches are coaches from other teams and have seemed to pigeon hole kids that weren’t on their regular season teams.

    So instead of letting everyone have a chance to practice in a few different positions they put the kids from their teams in the primary positions and stick the rest of the kids in outfield. The whole practice.

    I understand playing the best kids the most during the game but I don’t understand not even letting them practice a little at other positions that they were successful in during the regular season. But more importantly, I am torn on how to advise my child that life isn’t always fair and just because you may be a little better you don’t always get treated that way.

    Any sage advice?

  2. I don’t know about sage, but I am familiar with this issue. My son is an ok baseball player and did not play as much as I would have liked on his baseball team. But like you said, life is unfair and not everyone gets to be pitcher or QB.

    I told my son that he must work harder than the other players and prove himself on the playing field. Anytime he gets an opporutnity, he must excel and show the coaches that they are making a mistake by not playing him more.

    If your coaches are not mixing it up during practice, and favoring their players, I would politely approach them on the issue. They are probably doing this because they are comfortable with these players and has nothing to do with the ability of the other players. They are hurting the team and themselves by not playing the other kids. This will become an issue in a tournament when someone gets hurt or on vacation. No one on the team will be ready to play the top positions.

    Bottom line. Talk to the coaches and ask them their strategy about play time and positions. Ask for an honest answer. You may or may not like what you hear. Since this is an all star team, let your son know he had an excellent regular season and now he must be ready to play any position even if he’s not getting practice time. Practice with him at home or after practice, and when the team needs him in a tournament, he’s ready to go and shines like an all star that he is.

    • Anonymous

      here’s our HS situtation: Chad Kota’s kid is a freshman and plays on the VARSITY team.. and HE is a coach there…is his kid really that good…some say no. soooo… would that NOT be favoritism?? and how does this reflect on the head coach there…kind of a no-integrity move is how i some see it. an thoughts on that!!!

      • I have known many players that started Varsity their Freshman year. I started Varsity my Sophomore year because our HS did not have a Freshman class my Freshman year. So if you are good you can play.

        I do not know the coach’s son but this is probably favoritism. Many HS coach’s sons play for them so not a new issue with HS coaches. I would say its bad if the Coach’s son plays more then 10 plays a game and he is not very good. I think John Elway played for his dad in HS and a few other pro quarterbacks. I know many HS do this so they can have their son practice with them.

        Ya life is unfair. But if you are really good, then the coach’s son on Varsity will not matter because the coaches cannot overlook great talent.

        A similar situation is in college when non scholarship athletes look better than the players on scholarship. The non scholarship athletes usually sit since the coaching staff looks bad by giving a scholarship to a second string player. The coaches feel they MUST start the scholarship player or just plain look bad for wasting the universities money.

  3. Ok, I understand that when kids mess around durring practice they shouldn’t be starting; but what happens when you have a child that can push back, and hold back consistantly, the starting line and yet he is considered 3rd string because he isn’t in the front half of the running pack. Now understand this child is 123 lbs w/o uniform. And the starting line- coaches kids who didn’t even show up 3 out of 5 practices?

  4. Playing time is a tough subject in youth sports. Parents must remember that it’s not only the physical part of the game that determines play time but also knowledge of the sport and position disciplin.

    I have coached great athletes that did not start because they did not listen or did not have the capacity to learn the playbook. I won the starting MLB position in HS because the starting MLB would not play his responsibilities and kept running into the line of scrimmage. My knowledge of the position and disciplin won over his athletic talents. Of course, I also had talent. I was the starting DE before moving to the MLB.

    I know parents think their son or duaghter is the greatest player on the field. I think the same thing. But we look at our children through eyes of a parent, and its not always that rosey to the Coach.

    • Jimmy

      My daughter goes to a strong high school program in her sport. The volleyball coach is not good coach, she is just lucky that this area has kids in some strong club programs an this coach just adopts the talent.
      Speaking as a parent I do not favor my kids. This coach gives playing time to kids that go to her church and the other assistant coaches and current players can not stand up to her because they know if they did, then the coach would ban them in a second. The coach is not open to any conversations from the parents period. My daughter has been a starter on a very strong club team and was MVP on her JV team. She obviously is the strongest player in her position but has not had any playing time because my daughter does not kiss her butt. This coach finishes second in league every year but never improves in state matches because she plays enough to do well in a weak league, but you would think she would want to play the best players at thier position. not in this case, coach is a head case and athletic director does nothing to make sure the athletes that deserve to be playing are getting that chance. Its ashame to see phycos able to try to distroy a atheltes time in high school and jeperdising the kids future because
      she just does not like your kid. Players on the team assistant coaches have told her they do not know why she is not starting or even playing over the kids in her postion. No one will stand up to the coach because they know they will not be on the team if that was to happen. And it has in the past.

  5. Tom

    My son Tyler is in his 5th year of football first year in tackle. The coaching staff has only three new players on this team and after the first practice (conditioning) identified all of his starters. I find this appalling and unacceptable as there was no attempt to identify skill or ability. My son works harder than any player and the coach identified this to us. Secondly, he continually beats several players in blocking drill and offense vs defense in practice. Yet during practice he was one of three who stood around for an hour while “starters” practiced. The following day they had a 2 hour scrimmage Tyler played in a total of 18 plays in 2hours while the starters played more than 45 on offense and 45 on defense. Tyler would come in make beat the TE or Tackle on 3 consecutive plays and then was sent to the bench. After the game he says why dont I play more and why did I have to come out after 3 plays. This is heartbreaking for a child who gives everything for a sport he loves and has to pay for a coaches selfish desires. Ive always coached sports and have never seen anything like this. All they talk about is run this from last year, remember this play from last year and Tyler gets no chance to show his ability. What should we do??? I want to talk to the coach again but I know he will not care. Tylersfunmama@yahoo.com

  6. dale johnson

    I came across this article while looking for articles about HS favoritism.

    I don’t know a whole lot about football but I struggle with my son who is a Senior this year.

    He has played football at the same school since the fifth grade. Now that he has just completed his two-a-days he is on the verge of quiting before even the first game.

    I’m not sure what advice if any I can give him.

    Per the author of this article if your a MPP… you might as well pack your bags, right ?

    Is it really fair to pull the Farmer’s, Dentist’s, Doctor’s starting kid out of the game for a MPP ?

    I think the depth chart you reference is a good cover for HS favoritism, right?

    A few questions for you… I’d really be intersted to hear your responses.

    1. What advice do you have for MPP’s who are sophmores and seniors that figure why even play??

    2. Do you consider the families of the MPP’s or is it more important to focus on the starter’s and their families?

    3. Regardless of the depth chart or the “MPP” name given do you think all students who put forth an effort should be allowed to play without favoritism and have equal play time?

    • Lance Mozzini

      All I know is that when I was in HS playing football I was not a starter, I knew I wasn’t a starter. I still went to EVERY practice and gave every last bit I had, because I knew if I didn’t the starters wouldn’t get better. When I did get the opportunity to play, I was that much better for it. I don’t care if your the number one guy on the team, or the team punching bag.. go out and do your best.. it helps the whole team, and that’s what football is.. a team sport

  7. jj

    Coach-

    thanks for having the courage to at least tackle this tough subject. I hope open minded enough to consider that we all make mistakes- even coaches. I too found this by searching high school athletics and favoritism. Sorry to add my .02c.

    Many parents of MPP kids don’t think their kids are the best ones on the field. And, if you really watch, you will see that some MPP kids put in more effort than some of the “great talents” with little work ethic. Many MPP kids (and parents ) believe (at least intitally) , the head coaches warnings about dedication, practice and the rules. But parents and kids feel actions speak louder.

    So how would you tell a parent to repond when their child see’s starters miss 3 out of 5 practices and still play almost the whole game despite the coaches warnings that missed practices means minimum play time- period? Apparently that’s only true if a “W” is in the bag. How would you respond to those dedicated MPP kids when they ask why they weren’t given some extra plays when the team was leading 21-0 in the 4th quarter? How do explain to kid thats just trying to get better why the kids that need the least help, usually get the most “coaching”?

    I know yours is a tough position- but once in a while, try to see it from a different vantage. Kids that aren’t stars, (and their parents) usually only want their kids to 1) learn and get better, 2) have an equal opportunity to participate and contribute and 3) to feel good about themselves and the team.

    Most MPP kids I know would NOT want to go into a game at a critical moment if another player would be a better choice. That’s a selflessness that all coaches can learn from. There’s more than one kind of “winning” coach… and it’s not all measured in the stats. I’m sure delaing wiht us parents can be difficult but don’t think it’s all roses on this side either. At least you can effect your situation- often time we the parents can’t and our kids are ostersized for our trying.

  8. Trust me dealing with MPP and star player parents is not all rosey and we coaches can’t always effect the situation. I am also a parent and a coach so I see the issues from both sides. My youngest son is a MPP basketball player and I am as frsutrated as everyone else. But I also know what is best for the team. Yes TEAM.

    Somehow in this politicaly correct world we have forgotten about the team and everything is about the individual.

    • Anonymous

      You didn’t answer the question about missing 3 out of 5 practices. You ignored all the pertinent information. Also, part of becoming a great team is also building a team from the starters to the MPP

      • Ive not had players miss 3 of 5 practices and play. this coach has many other issues going on with his team. the issue is that some players play more than others. thats the game. some players are better than others. its that simple.

  9. 1mom

    My daughter plays soccer and basketball. She was once known as one of the better athletes in our community. As she got older the coaches/parents became very competetive. I came across many parent coaches that were coaching just to ensure their child the best spot and most playing time. My daughter is still a good athlete, she plays for the school but the last few years have taken a toll and she no longer has the confidence that she once had. She palyed one of the least winning teams in basketball for a while in elemetry school. Her coach wasn’t worrid about winning, he wanted to teach the girls. My daughter subbed her fifth grade summer for the top team and was asked to join that team. I let her decide and she wated to play with better competion. A year later she no longer had the confidence she had previously. I watched as she sat the bench more & more. I realized to late that this was about making sure certain girls got the junior high spot, it became so obviuos but it was to late. My daughter didn’t make the the seveth grade a team and people & other players were astounded. All the parent elementary coaches daughters did as well as their daughters teammate friends. People that know my daughter couldn’t believe the outcome. It was all politics and I wasn’t involed. At the end of the year I talked with the school counslor and told her what I believed happen. My daughter was then selected for the only 8th grade team this year. She has her ups and down just like all the other players but is penalized for her downs when others aren’t. We have a person unrelated to any of the players that keeps statistics and has shown me how well she does when she does get playing time which sometimes is 2 minutes out of the game. It’s a shame I as well as others see the favorite players make the same mistakes but rarely get taken out of the game. My point is that we are dealing with favortism as well as parents being very savvy on ensuring their child the spot. I advice that parents encurage their children to play for the coach that show the desire to coach and not because they want to control their childs destiny. These people are sneaky; remember the saying keep your enemies closer then your friends. I believe my daughter was viewed as threat and she was coaxed into play for a coach that wanted to make sure that wasn’t going to effect her daughter. My daughter no longer wants to do something she is really good at and she no longer has the opprtunity beacuase I wasn’t aware of how these politics are played. She had dreams of playing in college & I don’t see that happening now. I don’t think she will tryout next year but I will encourage her to play rec. Hopefully if she gains her confidence back there is away to go to college playing what she once loved without having to play for the school league. If anyone knows if that is a possibility please comment.

    Thanks,

  10. Hopefully once you get into Junior High and High School sports, the coaches are not also parents of the players they are coaching. These indepenent coaches are able to recognize talent and your son or daughter should be given the opportunity to play.

    At 45, I have learned life is not fair at 13 or 31 or 44. If your son or daughter truely loves the game, they should keep playing even if they do not start. The competition and practice is invaluable. Especially if they are not playing rec leagues.

    This year my youngest son ( 7) was assigned to a different tackle football team than we planned due to school boundaries and player’s coaching requests. He did not start and was an MPP player on this team because of the talent on the team. As a parent I was very unhappy with this situation and I spoke with the coach at the end of the season. He told me that my son was a mid tier player compared to the other players on the team.

    Of course I did not want to hear that and I knew in the back of my head that was true, but I did not want to hear my son was not good enough to start on this team, especially since the coach’s son is starting over my son at QB. This team won thier Super Bowl.

    So, I told my son we need to practice more and he needs to focus more, so when he is called to play any position he will play like a super star.

  11. Lost in Kentucky

    I’m glad I found this website, because I am on the other side of the clipboard and I need help. I’m a brand new coach (after some assistant coaching) on a U10 basketball team — it’s a competitive league, so parents are paying good money to keep their kids involved. We’ve only played two games, and in the second game I simply made a bad move: without getting into the specifics, I sat a player who was doing well in one aspect of the game order to focus on another aspect of the game — it ended up being poor judgment on my part and we lost a close game in overtime.

    Within minutes I received indirect complaints from folks who heard “someone else” get upset about what I had done. On one hand, I feel I should take responsibility and admit that I could have handled the situation differently. On the other hand, nobody has spoken with me directly, and I’m worried that if I offer some sort of general apology then any number of parents will get “in my ear”. Any ideas on how should I handle this?

  12. Unknown

    So here’s my problem. Thanks for the place to air it out.

    My son has played football a few years now and has earned (or at least it seemed) the running back spot and middle line backer spot. They won the championships the last 2 years.

    Now this year we have 4 new coaches along with the same head coach. Three of all of them have kids that play. My son ran for over 100 yards per game last year, and didn’t miss probably 4 or 5 plays the whole game.

    This year all of a sudden one of the new coaches kids(never played) is now the starting RB and MLB?? The pads haven’t even went on yet. The kid is fast but honestly he is pretty thin and most likely won’t be able to handle the hits. Now my kid has just been told he will be fighting it out with another kid for the 4 back spot…. (Again the kid is a coaches kid and hasn’t suited up). He is also told he is fighting it out for the OLB spot..

    What the heck??? He hasn’t missed a beat and has been training all summer and is stronger and faster than ever.

    I am not sure of how to handle this, but what I have done is told my son to fight for it all the way and when the pads go on and the hitting starts things will most likely change.

    The HC was even bragging to all the other coaches about all the yards after contact, and overall yardage.

    I am not sure what I think about this. Too many coaches kids on this team is what I see but…..

  13. Anonymous

    I have coached my son for the last 4 years and he is an above average athlete. Last year he scored multiple touchdowns every game. No parents had a problem with it, other kids carried the ball with limited success but we won and had alot of fun. This year he moved up to the next league and it seems like his coach this year is pushing him to the side. The same kids that were not productive last year and did not do nearly as well are getting most of the reps during practice. We just finished the first week of practice in helmets so we had no contact and it seems he already knows who is starting. I watched their games last year and none of the skill position players are returning, they also moved up. I am an assistant coach this year for my sons team and do not know what to say or do. I know I sound like every other parent now but this is not right. My son went to a professional football players camp and out of 27 kids in his age group he recieved the most outstanding running back for the week. I live in a small town and have a hard time believing that in helmets with no contact that this one coach can tell that 5 or 6 kids from this same small town has more ability than my son. What should I say or do if anything at all?
    By the way some of the parents that were on my team from last year are wondering the same thing.

    • Anonymous

      Hey listen. This is youth football. The whole idea behind youth football is to help develop skills and instill a love for the game. This isn’t about W’s and L’s at the end of the year, because it’s not about me as a coach. I measure my success by how many so called “MPP’s” we can develop into reasonably skilled players by the end of the season.

      On my team the MPP’s get a lot of reps in practice because we’re trying to help them become better athletes and contribute more to the team. We even use our more experienced and skilled players to help the MPP’s with their fundamentals and mentor them in their skills. This promotes and instills leadership in them, which they’ll take on to their teams as they go on to play more competitive ball.

      It drives me crazy when I see coaches playing their star kids on both sides of the ball and having the same kids on the sidelines for nearly the entire game. How do you ever expect these kids to improve if you never give them the experience of playing? It won’t hurt the starter thats playing both sides of the ball to give up some reps to the kids that need the experience. All you’re doing by benching your MPP’s teaching them that because they haven’t developed the skills yet that they are worthless to the team and that they won’t ever have the chance to develop their skills to become better players. Guess what, most of those kids will be turned off of the game because of that, and there’s nobody to blame but the coaches that insist on putting winning before player development in YOUTH FOOTBALL!

      Work with those kids. Let them play. I’m not saying that you should simply throw them into situations to the detriment of the team, but there are ALWAYS situations you can put them in where they can feel like they’re contributing to more than holding the bench down. Make them work hard and teach them to be competitive. Maybe they’ll develop into starters and go play competitive ball, maybe they won’t, but at least you’ll have had a positive impact on that kids view of the game.

      I want to win as much as the next coach (and I do win frequently), but I couldn’t live with myself for turning a 9 or 10 year old kid off of football. It’s a shame that so many youth coaches do. Frankly if you have MPP’s on your team, I view it as a coaching failure that you should either learn to deal with, or go coach college or pro teams.

      • PENSTER

        I couldnt have said it better!This is my sons first year on ponies football after some prodding of the coaches to get him to play.I have now been on both sides of the coin …my biggest complaint is that I dont care how good a certain player is I feel as a parent every player deserves to play we have enough players on the team to make both and off and def team with about 4 boys left over..we had a new boy join us after the season had started he missed two games..but once he started playing it was like the shit rolled down hill he got the starting position and everyone else fell down behind him ..dont get me wrong he is a good player but he has a bad attitude .Its a “all about me attitude” and the coaches feel the same way…yesterdays game was 36 to 6 with our team in the lead why oh why didnt they let the bench warmers play??My son plays alot which im surprised that he does for being on the team for first time .but some of these players are returning players…As a a parent its hard to sit back and see it happening.

      • Keith

        Will you please coach my son’s team? We need more youth coaches with your kind of attitude towards skill and confidence development. Thanks for doing it the right way coach!!

      • TA

        Thanks for the great response. This site surfaced amidst my search to find a voice of reason (the fact that the term “MPP” even exists speaks volumes about the mindset of most youth football coaches). In reading the “article”, I thought it was perhaps a joke or at least an attempt at satire. Sadly, I know that it is real, have lived it with my own kids, and feel for the many parents who don’t know how to handle it. Remarkably, not one of the horrible youth football coaches I’ve encountered has yet land the NFL job they feel they certainly deserve. Life indeed is unfair!

  14. gadawg

    jj’s post above is excellent. Coach Parker, you’re way off base here. If your kids are playing in a league with minimum play, go read the league’s objectives. I GUARANTEE you they include the word DEVELOPMENT. If you don’t want to deal with MPP’s because they are taking time away from the stars (LOL), go to a Select or Division 1 league. I’ve seen it time and time again – the all star parents and daddy-ball coaches play their kids in Division II to they can be the stars, then they criticize the parents of MPPs because they just want some playing time. These “stars” have stolen the developmental leagues, and coaches like Parker are trying to justify it. Gimme a break.

    • We have a recreational Division and its Division 3. All of our divisions have MPP rules, we do not have Select try-out divisions in our league. Many parents do not want thier child playing in Division 3 because it is considered a recreational league.

      I always appreciative posts from free email accounts posting to the blog and attacking someone they do not know. Thanks again for your post GADawg.

  15. Paul Quinones

    Wow!!!

    Almost all rec leagues have rules around minimum plays, but they also have rules around practice time also. I wonder how many of the complaining parents actually spend any time trying to further their kids knowledge or skill outside of football practice. Not all leagues offer select or elite programs so that is a moot point. Just like adults aren’t built the same neither are our kids. It is the parents responsibility to work with your kid to get them to a level of competiveness. I didn’t say star because these are far and few between. All to often parents use rec sports as a 2 hour babsitter program and then want to complain about the play time. Work with your child and help them develop and stop complaining. Of course there are exceptions to every rule but I like to think humanity wins in the end. Either pick up a whistle an offer to help, because none of these coaches are paid or sit in your lawn chair and play cheer leader.

  16. Leanne

    My daughter played select soccer for the first time this year. I have coached her in SAY league for the past 3 years, and I can say, I did not always start her on the front lines. If she played really hard during the game, I would move her up, but she had to earn it. However, the new Select Soccer Coach, plays his daughter on the front line every-single-game! She is not that great, has only scored once on a fluke, and kicks the ball to the other team more than their own defense. Although my daughter is only 11, she even asks me why this girl plays on front if she is so bad? I don’t know what to tell her, other than not all things in life are equal or fair.

    Needless to say, we will not be playing select with this team next year. We will go back to SAY where there are more opportunities for development, camaraderie, and real team-work.

    Coaches, if you are going to coach your children, please realize you are an example to all the children out there, not just your own.

    • I learned this year that different coaches see different skillsets in players. This year was the first year in a very long time that I was not the head coach. (We moved to Keller Texas just outside of Ft Worth this year) Positions that I would have put players in, the Head Coach of our Keller team did not see. This is not a slam against the head coach, but I did learn that based on our playing and coaching experience we want different attributes at certain positions from our players.

      Also, there are coaches that will play their children no matter what. That’s not right, but it happens. Welcome to the world, its not fair. If you are a parent, you must do your homework on the league and the coach.

      Thanks
      Coach Parker
      Keller Texas

  17. J. Durkee

    Sports and football in particular are valuable to show how things work in life. Challenges and competition are a good thing. Those of you complaining that your skilled kids have to compete over again for their positions are missing the opportunity to let their kids know how important it is to show your talent and work ethic every day of every year. Those of you with kids that don’t play much have to realize that your children have to prove themselves. These opportunites come easily during practices of all sports. All kids who get a lot of playing time, pay close attention to how the game is played and give a maximum effort to help the team be successful. Are your kids showing the kind of concentration and committment that is necessary for the coaches to notice? Honestly, my own son doesn’t always have his head on straight in these areas, so I’m sure many players aren’t doing enough to impress a lot of coaches. We’ve all got to remember that coaching at the instructional and recreational level is volunteer and is by its nature political. Coaches can’t be expected to have the same faith in kids they don’t know as they do their own sons and daughters and players they are familiar with. In addition, it’s reasonable to expect a coach’s child to receive a little playing time reward for the work that a coaching family is required to perform during the season. Finally, keep in mind and educate your children that they will have good leaders and bad leaders in their lifetime. Some leaders will be fine for a while and then lose their edge. We should expect that each season will be different. Whether it’s a coach or a supervisor, they will need to learn how to perform their best in a bad situation. This is probably the best reason we have our kids in youth sports to begin with. All of these complaints can be turned in to opportunities to teach our kids about real world challenges. Good Luck!

  18. Vivionion

    We as a family are band new to football, never played, know nothing about the game. Tonight I think my son was un-officially dubbed an “MP”…so I guess I’m an “MPP”. Today they played a little scrimmage and my son stood to the side for most of the time. Going into this I was told this was an “instructional league” and ability didn’t matter. If I had known going into this that we would uproot our lives, rush from work to attend four practices per week in the boiling sun only to have him stand on the side for the entire time, I may have reconsidered. We wanted to sign him up for something he could PARTICIPATE in, learn a sport and feel like part of a team. He doesn’t feel like part of the team. We could have paid nothing and had him stand in the yard. I understand what you all are saying he has to earn it, but how is that possible if he’s not even given the chance to make the mistakes to learn from? This is very disheartening and frustrating.

  19. hope

    My son has played select sports since he was 9. Why is it that there are some players the coaches favor because of daddy’s last name? Every team we have participated in seems to have the same recurring theme, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Bottom line, what I have learned, as a parent, is that your son may be the most talented, the fastest and earned his position, only to have a coach crush his efforts by giving, and I mean giving, the starting position/playing time to a less deserving player simply because of who the parents are.

    Kids get to an age when they begin to question and understand the “adult political game”. I’m not going to lie to my son when he asks “Why is … starting in my position when I’ve completed more passes, carried more yards and run faster?” Now at 13, he understands right from wrong and hard work makes a person better. We are trying to teach him that he must earn respect and reward, that it is not something that is just given away, although these coaches keep proving us wrong.

    I really don’t want to sound bitter, because I love watching my son play but every single coach has lied to us or went back on their word only to self-satisfy relationships with those who may benefit his agenda. It’s really sad and has only taught my son to cautiously trust his coaches.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately, I am in total agreement with you. My son is experiencing the same favoritism. What I can’t understand is how are the other players going to get any better with never having the opportunity to try the different positions? My son never misses a practice puts in 100% effort, but the HC son doesn’t want to be there, complains doesn’t put the effort in and he is still the star QB or RB. I know and understand it’s a team sport, but at what point do the other players get the slightest chance to break through. Maybe if they were given a chance, the coaches might actually see they have some other talent other than their sons.

  20. Steve Bailey

    So glad you bring this up… here’s my problem (and it’s a little different than yours so please indulge me for a moment).

    How do you handle situations when your child has talents at one position but isn’t even given the opportunity to try that position because the coaches child already occupies that position? I’d like to at least see my daugher (we’re talking about softball here) be given the opportunity to show the coach what she’s capable of in a particular position but so far she’s just not been given the opportunity.

  21. sdwyer41

    My son played his first year of football this past fall, 2nd grade tackle. I swear the parents are worse than the kids. We had kids who would miss 2 of the 3 practices consistantly but their parents constantly complained because they didn’t get much playing time. This would resault in one of the children that came to practice consistantly having to sit out so that the ones who never showed up to practice could play. My son missed 3 practices all season one was the coaches fault, one he was sick right before the playoffs and one he was in the hospital, and I called to let the coach know. Except the one that was the coaches fault. We had 22 kids on the team, we averaged 12-14 at practice each night. We had a core of about 10 that were there almost every practice, most got a lot of time in the games, my son would sometimes be in every snap on both sides of the ball. He was usualy in for all offence and atleast half on deffence. But we only had 4 strippers on the team, of which my son was the largest by 20Lbs. He was the best blocker on the team and possibly the best DL in the league (28 sacks as Nose Guard in a non blitzing 5-3) No one complained about his playing time because they all wanted him to block for their child who never came to practice, so my son, who does not care for OL has to play the entire game at ol to block for kids who dont come to practice and sit out the second half as dl (which he loved, complained when we tried to move him from NT to DE) so some kid who don’t come to practice can get some playing time. How is that fair. You want to talk about developing players? That happens at PRACTICE not in the game. If you want your kid to get better, bring him to practice. If you want practice to run better, help. I don’t know if you ever tried to keep a bunch of 8 year olds in full gear in a line while someone was hitting, but you almost need 2 people per child. Make games at home where they can use what they learn in practice to develope. Stay at the practice and watch so you will know what is being taught to help them develope at home, don’t just drop them off for a few hours of peace. We had one of the smallest kids move into the starting line up by the end of the year through hard work, hard hitting and consistant practices. Talk to the coaches, ask what you can do to help, ask what you need to work on with your child. I asked the coach why my son was being taken off dl in the second half, if he was doing something wrong, no it was a playing time issue. I did not like it but there it was. I know they could not take him off the O-line as his back up would be sometimes 40 lbs lighter than him. So as a parent I sucked it up and let the coach do what was best for the team. That’s kind of what being a team player is.

  22. Anonymous

    I am a coach with a child on my team. i have a problem with children that come out and cry because the child never wanted to play the game but the parents make them. the important thing that parents have got to understand is that if your child does not want to play they could hurt themselves and other kids if they dont do what they are suppose to.

    • sdwyer

      We had this last year, one that did not want to play ended the season with a fracture of his left ulna and radius before the first game. One of the hardest things to teach kids and their parents, is that if your going half speed because your scared, against someone who’s not scared, and is going full speed, the half speed kid gets hurt. Some were willing to play, but did not want to run the ball, our coach would not make them no matter how much their parents complained. We had one that would play for a few minutes in a game then go sit down, the coach did not make him play even though his mom and dad complained. I don’t get that though, how do you yell at the coach because your kid sat down?

  23. Anonymous

    Interesting blog. In Northern Virgina we have the Fairfax County Youth Football League. Guess how the smart people who set up this rec league set up the minimums: No team can have more than 22 players. Every player must be given a starting position. Every player must then play EVERY down at that position. Yes, that means some kids only play offense or only play defense. However, that means that they play approximately half the game. So, the league is very competitive because the rules level the field and at the same time every kid must be coached and gets ample opportunity to contribute. And guess what also happens? The less skilled kids get better and COME BACK the next year, instead of dropping out.

    • What if someone gets hurt? Do then they allow subs? it would be interesting to see if that league has the same drop out rates as other leagues. I’m not sure you can assume this is a better league without the empirical data to back up the assumption. Most youth player play sports because of friends and if they are having fun not so much as it is based on play time.

      I think we continue dumbing down our schools and sports and eventually we will be worse off then when we started. I can’t sing and I was not allowed to join Choir except as the MC to announce the songs, and I cannot play an instrument so I was not asked to join band. There is nothing wrong with this. I would love to sing and play electric guitar but I did not advance in these areas. I was given the opportunity and I did not have the skill set to pursue those interests as I did football, golf, racquetball, math, accounting etc.

      What is wrong if some youth players are not starters on the football team? Why is this such a huge issue? I find this very interesting. The problem is in “real life” not everyone is a starter. Some of us sit on the sidelines. I am not CEO of a F1000 company, but I want to be. Should I have my mother call GE and ask them if I can be CEO?

      Sorry if I took this to the extreme, but just because everyone starts on the football teams does not make it right. In my humble opinion.

      Thanks
      Coach Parker

      • Marne

        Most children do not know how to play an instrument before they join band. They are taught.

      • We teach everyone the game and how to play during practice. Do not understand your point about the band. Not everyone makes the marching band or symphonic or orchestra. They also have chairs in band for starters etc.

    • sdwyer

      So what you are saying is that the children are never given a chance to learn anything but their one position? What if a kid who was a starting as OG wants to run the ball when he gets into JHS? That’s where our weight limits come off. But even though he has played for 6 years, he has never gotten to run the ball? What if they want to move him to tight end, as he did not grow as much as the others, but he don’t know how to run a pattern because all he did was block, block, block for 6 years? What if he wants to play defense as almost all kids do? Who would want to be stuck blocking all the time and not get a chance to tackle someone? Do the coaches teach them all positions in practice or are they stuck in that one position? What if a kids brain just clicks and he suddenly “gets it”? Now he would be the best QB, but someone else is assigned there? Is there room to switch the roster? What if you get a team with 3 large kids, and the rest are all small? Who will play lineman? Just wondering how these things will work out for the players, since nobody is concerned about the team, just the individual players.

      I am an assistant coach on my son’s team this year, the way we are working the depth chart, is not who comes to practice so much as how you perform when you are there. (It’s not the child’s fault if mom or dad will not bring them to practice.) If you practice hard and learn when you are there you will play a lot. If you goof off, talk when the coaches are, or just not try, then you will not be playing much. If your kid does not get to play much, ask us why, we will tell you. If your kid does not want to play, take him home before he gets hurt.

    • TA

      Giving kids a chance to play youth sports in a fair manner? What a crazy idea! It sounds like they probably have fun. What are these people thinking? This can’t possibly be true, as it makes too much good sense. “Coach” Steve must be correct, no kids would want to return to something that might actually be enjoyable, and our children would certainly be dumber for having done so and destined to be losers in the game of life!

      • Who said I did not give kids a chance to play? Players have every opportunity in practice to play and learn the game. Some players do not make a good transition to the games. Practice time is the time we develop players and learn the game. Every player on our team gets a ton of development time in practice.

        Thanks for your comments. I am sure your child would love playing for me like most of my players. I am sorry you are in a bad situation.

  24. sdwyer

    I know what I’ll do, I’ll start my own Youth Football League. Who’s with me?
    Rules:
    1. 11 kids per team
    2. Each game will last exactly 22 plays.
    3. Each Child will play one play at each position.
    4. No score will be kept as we don’t want to offend anyone.
    5. There will be no end zone, if a team reaches the end of the field, they just turn around and come back. This will help stop “Secret Scores” being kept.
    6. Offense and Defense are derogatory names so the sides will be called, ummmm… Ah.. “We have the ball” and “They have the ball”.
    7. Before and after each game there will be a group hug involving both teams at once. The singing of songs will be optional, providing we can find a generic, non offensive, non religious, song to sing.

    Any other suggestions would be welcome, Thanks for your assistance in setting up the Generic League of Football for the Chronologically Challenged.

  25. JR. high football mom

    We have a coach that has made his son the 1st string QB. I have two boys that play. Being totally honest, one doesn’t give his all because he is always on the sidelines. His coach focuses more on offense, which my son play defense. I live in a small town and it’s all about who you are and who you know to make 1st string. We have some amazing players that aren’t given a chance. I have a video of one of those players who happen to be hispanic but isn’t given the same opportunities as say the “coaches son.” Our small town football coaches suck! I can understand wanting to win, but they should switch players out to let them shine too.

  26. howard31

    My son is playing middle school football and he is 6’0 145 pounds and is the fastest 200 m hurdler in the State. He plays free/strong Safety and he hits like a Mack Truck but the Coach just moved him to defensive tackle but did not move any of the other skilled defensive players that are around his size speed. He asked the coach why he moved, and the coach said “we don’t need speed back there, but we need it close to the line and it’s not because you did a bad job at safety” I understand that you have to be a team player but is this move good for my sons football future considering he is not built like a lineman and never will be (Everyone in my family is tall and lean)? Should I express my concern to the coach?

    • Any position on the team that helps the team to win is a good move. Speed on the LOS is awesome, especially if he hits like a mack truck. He may try to use him as a DT that can contain also. So I would not worry about it yet.

      One year, I moved a corner to one of my noseguards because he was so quick and had a great nose for the ball. It worked out great.

      Have your son talk to the coach not you. Coaches like the players to talk to them about position changes. Give it a week or two and see what happens.

      Thanks
      Coach Parker

  27. Keith

    Coach Parker, do you have the same opinion of playing time at the 8 year old level? My son gets his mandatory 12 plays every game and will never touch the ball this season, in scrimmages or games. He is athletic but there are 7 kids on the team that know the sport better and play every single play on both sides of the ball. The remaining 22 kids get their 12 mandatory plays at the less skilled positions. Does this seem like the correct thing to do at age 8?

    Thanks,
    Keith

    • After almost 20 years of coaching, at the end of the day a youth football team must win. Unfortunately parents on losing teams become unbearable to deal with as a youth football coach. So, I understand why coaches play the best players the majority of time. Everyone is feeling great until the team loses almost every game.

      I’ve personally coached a development team, we rotated many players around and intentionally played players to gain experience. Unfortunately we lost all but one game. The players and parents were very disappointed in the coaching staff that season. The parents and players did not feel they learned anything. Winning sets the tone of the team. Losing = Everyone unhappy, Winning = everyone happy

      12 plays during a youth game is usually one quarter of the game because a youth game is around 60 plays. The problem with your team is 30 players. Most leagues keep the teams at 20, our league keeps the teams at 16. So, more players get to play just by the size of the teams.

      Another issue no one brings up is what is fair to the good players on the team. We were winning Saturday and took out our starters after mid 3 quarter. I had several starters upset and crying that they had to come out of the game. They did not understand that we wanted our other players to get game time.

      In my opinion from experience coaching a development team, a team must play the best players on the team and sub as needed so the team wins. As a youth coach you just do not have enough time at weekly practices to develop players that do not respond and excel during normal practice hours.

      Thanks
      Coach Parker

  28. SDwyer

    I have had just the opposite experience. My son was on the 8U team last year, they only lost 2 regular season games and many parents were horrible. This year on the 10U team we are 0 and 4 and the parents have been very supportive. One team we play has 4 10 year old kids that are over 200 lbs. The entire youth league organization in our town is, well, organization may be too strong a word for them. It’s more like a circle… I mean cluster… well it’s not very organized. We have had 6 games cancelled, we have only played on 2 weekends, yes that’s 2 games per day. But the parents have been supportive of the team, if not the youth league it’s self. But even though the minimum play according to the league is 2 quarters, we basically ignore it. If you want to get playing time work in practice. If you listen, and try you play, if you back talk, loaf and don’t try in practice you don’t play. The parents, so far have not had a problem with that.

  29. NOT A BIG NAME

    HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY FOOTBALL IN THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS IS AWFUL;. THERE ARE DOZENS OF PAID POSITIONS-THE PARENT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE ATHLETIC BOOSTERS ASSOC. AND PLAYING TIME ARE DIRECTLY CO-RELATED. THIS CUSTOMARY PRACTICE GUARANTEES THE PARENTS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LOCK THEIR NON-ATHLETIC KIDS IN KEY SKILLED POSITIONS. AT ONE PARTICULAR SCHOOL, A NON-SKILLED COACH, HAS NUMEROUS 5’7-5’8 150-165 LB. PLAYERS IN A LINEBACKER POSITION. UNFORTUNATELY 90% OF THEM PLAY THE POSITION POORLY AND LACK THE SKILL AND ATHLETICISM TO FULFILL THE LB ROLE. THEY’RE UNABLE TO BLOCK, THEY CAN’T STOP PLAY IN THE SECONDARY AND THEY ARE MOSTLY INEFFECTIVE. AS A RESULT WHEN THEY PLAY CHALLENGING TEAMS, WHICH THEY TRY NOT TO, THEIR INADEQUACIES BECOME COMPLETELY EXPOSED TO THEIR PEERS, THE PARENTS AND EVERYONE WATCHING THE GAME. THE ENTIRE GAME THEY GET -BURNED, TRUCKED AND STRONG ARMED AND EVENTUALLY, INJURED. iT’S SUCH AN EMBARRASSMENT. BUT THEIR PROUD DAD’S ARE ON THE SIDELINES THINKING “LOOK AT MY KID”-HE’S A TROOPER.

    ****AS LONG AS THEY PLAY TEAMS THAT ARE NOT A CHALLENGE, THEY ARE AB LE TO GET BY WITH SUB-PAR PERFORMANCE. BUT WHEN THEY PLAY A CHALLENGING TEAM OR A TEAM WITH A FEW ATHLETES, THERE MASK IS REMOVED. THEIR LACK OF TALENT AND ABILITY IS COMPLETELY EXPOSED… AND IT’S NOT PRETTY!

    . IT’S SAD WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER KIDS ON THE BENCH WHO ARE MORE ATHLETIC AND WHO BETTER FIT THE POSITION (SIZE, STRENGTH AND SPEED). THE SORRY KIDS PARENTS WANT THEIR SONS OUT THERE-NOT CARING THAT THEY ARE CAUSING THE TEAM LOSSES OR THAT THEY RISK INJURY AND THE BETTER PLAYERS COULD BE ON THE FIELD PERFORMING MUCH BETTER AND Better ASSISTING THE TEAM,.

    THE OTHER PLAYERS ARE ALSO PUT IN A HORRIBLE SITUATION. THEY KNOW WHAT THEIR TEAMMATES ARE SAYING WHICH LEADS TO TEAM MEMBER RESENTMENT KILLING TEAM MORALE THUS AFFECTING TEAM PERFORMANCE. IT’S SUCH A LOSE-LOSE FOR ALL INVOLVED.

  30. Cyndi

    Wow, sounds like a lot parents are facing the same issues that I am! My grandaughter is on the JV girls basketball team, she has attended EVERY practice even in the first 2 weeks when they had practice 2 times a day every day, she would go in at 5:30am and again right after school. Last year she unable to play because during a practice she rolled her ankle and caused so much damage, surgery was required to repair it. She paid dearly for that injury, now she only gets time on the floor during practice, she does not get any time in the games, well a couple of games the caoch actually put her in for 54 seconds, Really? I have told her that she needs to talk to the coach to find out what she can do to get in the game, all he has told her is to look up more, It hasnt helped…….now he doesnt even work with her in practice, he pairs her off with a couple of other girls who not atletic at all, but are on there to be on the “team” and they don’t care if they play or not. My daughter says she can not get in a good practice because she isnt allowed to play and learn with the other girls. HOW AM I SUPPOSE TO DEAL WITH THIS AS A PARENT????? All she has ever talked about was playing basketball…..she is at the point of quitting, I keep telling her to stick it out, but she is getting so depressed over this. This is really a time when we just be worried about self esteem and other issues that teens face. She doesnt want me to talk to the coach because she says that is the worst thing I could do, that coahces do not want to be approached by a players parents, But I am at a loss here.

    • It is hard for parents to realize their child might not be as talented as other kids. This becomes evident in JR High and High School more because the funnel becomes narrower. We’ve trained ourselves in youth sports that everyone gets a trophy and gets play time. But at higher levels this is not the case. Only the best players play.

      My oldest son is not playing on the Jr High A team. He plays B team. This upsets him and is frustrated. I told him to continue to work hard and he must become better than the starters on the A team. Otherwise he must quit complaining about not playing on A team.

      I know its tough, but motivate her to continue to play, practice and train to get better so the coaches cannot ignore her. She must be great when she gets into the games or in scrimmages in the front of the coaches. If she is only average then the coaches will continue to play their favorite and trusted starters.

  31. Firehead

    This is a great topic that I wish I had found years ago. I am a youth football coach and have been coaching almost 15 years. Over the years I’ve experienced alot dealing with parents who feel their kids aren’t playing enough and with kids who have dads on the coaching staff. Most of the time I have been coaching with the same group of guys. For years one of the other coach’s son had been our starting qb. One year we had a new kid come to our team who I felt was a better qb so I gave him the starting job. The new kid’s parents were pleasantly surprised that their kid was given the position over a coach’s son. None of the other coaches had an issue with my pick for the qb spot even though the old qb had served us well over the years. All parents, even those who are coaches, need to believe what their eyes tell them about their kid’s ability. We always had teams that did well and most years we only lost one game. Win or lose there will always be a parent who has a complaint. You can’t coach in response to the parent. We coached what was best for the kids, which in some cases meant giving some kids the minimum number of plays required by league rules. That was normally only in the really close games or if there were discipline problems at practice, home or school with the kid. If we were up a couple touchdowns we made sure we rewarded the bench players who put in the extra effort at practice during the week and gave them more than the minimum amount of plays. We expected our starters who came out of the game to show support for the bench players. It is a team sport after all. If they want their teammates support they have to show support in return. We want all of the kids to have fun and winning is only part of the equation. At the younger levels we don’t want to discourage kids from coming back the next year because they are ignored at practice and don’t play on Saturday. I was on a staff last year with guys I had never coached with before. These coaches were so concerned with winning(5,6 and 7 year olds) that they didn’t even give some players the minimum number of plays required by league rules. I did what I could to play some of the “MPP” players on offense just so they could get on the field. These coaches were good guys who I think just got a little caught up in winning even if it meant ignoring the rules. As a coach I love winning, but I get a greater joy out of developing players and seeing them improve. There’s not alot better in coaching than seeing the light finally come on for the kid who was just not getting it. Teach the kids every life skill you can, not just that life is not always fair. What about hard work paying off. It’s hard to get the pay off if they get ignored in practice and never play in the games. You can always express to them that once they get to high school playing time won’t be guaranteed. Just my opinion.

    Thanks

  32. Terry

    how about this one, my son is on a HS soccer team, he was the second leading scorer on the team and the leading scorer graduated. along with that the coach left the team to move on. got a new coach, the new coach has placed two other players at forward and has stated to my son and other players that he can’t play forward because he lacks the ability to do so. Oh by the way we have played three games and scored two goals, one of which was a penalty kick due to a hand ball. now i don’t care if my son plays forward and truth be told i think he is more of a help to the team as a midfielder, i just have objections to a coach telling my son and other kids that my son can’t play the position because he lacks the ability. can someone tell me what type of coaching this is.

  33. Coach MO

    Paul, I agree with you in many respects. I also appreciate your willingness to state your mind, since I have a hard time dealing with clueless parents who have no knowledge of what goes into the football process, yet are forthright with their complaining. However, not everyone has the knowledge or time to spend with their child to coach them on the side. I’m a football head coach and it certyainly shows in my son’s ability on the field. We invest a lot of time and passion in learning the game – both me as a coach and him as a player. However, I suck at baseball and no matter how much time we invest there, I don’t have the skills to pass along to him. I rely on coaches to “teach” him baseball and have been disappointed in the lack of individual attention that’s permissible. Have you seen how much these clinics and private lessons cost? I’m a cheap bastard and won’t pay it, so I learn what I can from books, videos and YouTube.

  34. Coach MO

    Coach Steve, all due respect…you’re dead wrong here: “Losing = Everyone unhappy, Winning = everyone happy”. Really? Sorry to inform you, but my team of 28 kids went 1-8-1 last year and had the time of their lives. 26 have returned. Many of the lower rung players have shown maturity and are already building on the skills they learned last year. So, if they’re so miserable with only one “W” from last year, why did they come back? Gluttons for punishment? I think not Coach. It’s because they had 2 “W’s”, the one game we one….and the entire season.

    I love your knowledge of football and what you share on this site, but I don;t like “winning” philosophy.

    • Coach,

      Thanks for your comment and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but after almost 20 years of coaching if a coach does not win consistently then many parents become “boo birds” Many do not like playing on a losing team. You’re are probably a great coach and the team is giving you another year.

      As a player, I always played for fun and winning was always much funner. I did not mind losing as a player as much as my coaches hated losing, but I did love to win as a player. The dairy queen and locker room was a lot louder when we won.

      Winning is a habit and so is losing. I would much rather win than lose. We can have fun in practice but games are made to win that’s why we keep score.

      Good luck this season. I am glad you enjoy the site. Everyone is different and that’s what is great about this world.

      Cheers,
      Coach P

      • Coach MO

        Indeed, winning is always more fun. Perhaps I should have noted we were coaching first-year-contact 8 year olds. I do agree winning is the main objective beyond the instructional level…and I have not coached at that level yet. Currently, I measure success in the development of the players, and I say that genuinely without adhering to a cliche’. With that said, I hope we will develop players this year that can win more games, since it is truelu more fun. If not, I will still be looking for that real “W” at the end of the year, which is the entire season as a whole and the growth of our players. I just “liked” your Facebook page and shall remain a fan. Thanks Coach.

    • James

      Learn to spell,genius! “The one game we “W”on! Not One! One would indicate a numerical value, not a victory status! More reasons I don’t want my kids playing this sport.

  35. James

    What about the money? I have two kids playing little league football and I pay just as much as those coaches kids and put in an exhorbitant amount of time working with them outside of practice. They’re just as fast strong and intelligent as the coaches kids, but game after game, they’re on the sidelines. This is b.s. and I’m not putting any more money into this league, or time at car washes and other fundraisers so the coaches sons can have a great season even at the expense of having one losing season after another.

  36. Anonymous

    You are so full of crap.

    • James

      maybe your handle shouldn’t be “anonymous” but “coward.” Since you wont even give your name. You are indeed a coward and represent everything that is wrong with this sport at every level. If you really are a “true-blue-american-football-fan,” then let us know who you are and stop hiding behind your computer. I certainly don’t want you coaching my kids or having anything to do with this sport…and let’s keep in mind, it is just a game, genius! Don’t waste my time or money anymore coward. grow some balls and talk to me like a man!

  37. M Bogue

    We are parents of an freshman football player who is extremely athleticly gifted, and teachable, but, due to coaches favoritism to boys that came from the middle school where he teaches…. get all the playing time, even though they have a losing record. He doesn’t sub in anyone even though he has a deep talented bench. Some of the boys play both ways, wearing them out and frustrating the players who could be substituted in and given a chance to prove themselves. We have discussed our sons playing time with the coach and he skirted around the issue, and never gave us a difinative answer about why he isn’t playing. What’s our next step?

    • Sometimes you just have to ride the horse to the end of the trail and wait for the next trail. I totally understand what you are saying. I know from personal experience and from other friends and former players. Like in the real world, there are bad coaches just like bad bosses, bad friends, bad people, etc. Football is no different then life. When you get a really bad coach you can quit or ride the season out. One thing I tell some of my former players in this situation is to be so good that the coaches can’t ignore you. Because if you are just slightly better than their favorites they will play their favorites but if you are so good that your team mates are requesting you play then the coaches cannot ignore that fact. I know this is hard to hear but you must be great not just good.

  38. Anonymous

    My son is a Freshman in High School in a Pay to PARTICIPATE program. He has played football since he was 6 years old and attends many off season football camps. Football is his passion. He has played Center for most of these years and was starting center during summer scrimmages. We received a new young head coach right before school started who immediatetly removed my son as starter and told him that he had “no place for him on the team” and he “does not have the skills to play football.” My son is devastated. He has been made to bring water and carry gear and has been the brunt of many jokes at the expense of the coach, I have personally coached youth sports for years but am at a loss on how to deal with this coach.

    • Bad coach. Sorry for your situation. Sometimes you must cut the coach as a player and find a new coach. Cutting players and coaches is a two way street. Its not quitting if the coach is a jerk and does not know how to properly coach football. I know many of you live in towns with only one team, but if you want to play bad enough you can find a way to play football with another team and coach.

      Have you sat down and spoken to the coach about your son’s situation? If the coach is open to meetings, I would schedule a meeting and find out what is going on.

      Trust me I personally understand your situation. My oldest son is having issues with his coaching staff, which is new and young. They are inexperienced coaches and many parents on the team are upset since their son’s youth football coaches were much better. Its hard going backwards.

      Good Luck,
      Steve Parker

  39. Jeff

    Hi coach, My son loves football and he is always at practice and so eager to play. he is in 9th grade and him and his classmates get to dress and go with the varsity team, he doesn’t get to play much in the varsity games cause of his age, but he does play most of the time in his jv games. Last night our school had the first round of the play offs and my son said that he might get to play depending on how the game went. While they (the team) were ahead 32 to 0 at the half and in the third quarter they got to 46 to 0 , so I figured that they would put in the second and third strings to give them some playing time on varsity. I kept looking for my son, because they were substituting all the younger players with that big of a lead, but I didn’t see my son out on the field at all. After the game I asked him if I had missed him out on the field but he said the coaches didn’t put him in. Don’t you think with that much of a lead that the coaching staff would want to give all the players some playing time and make them all feel like part of the team’ no matter there skill level? All of his classmates got some playing time,so what gives here??

    • I think your son was lucky to suit up with the Varsity. Many freshman across the country do not get that opportunity. Enjoy the opportunity. High School football is not a rec sport and they do not have rules about playing players minimum plays.

      Like I tell my son, that is struggling with his Freshman football experience since he has not hit full puberty and gotten his growth spurt like most of his team mates, if you want to play you must show the coaches something special that the coaches and other players cannot ignore.

      I feel your pain as a parent, but unfortunately we cannot control every situation our child is involved with in their lives, although I would like to too.

      ~ Steve Parker

  40. nnnnnnn

    SO, Genius!. You do play favorites! My daughter is a sanctioned gymanast. (9 girls on her team. They have all been taken in for “special extra” practice. All except my child.. She is good, won state champs last season in a few events. But this year she is struggling….SO with these so called special practices she has been ousted and set aside. So, thanks to her coaches and people like yourself her self esteem has suffered. All in the name of competition. Hats off to you for continuing the assjerk syndrome. Hate you all self obsorbed misfits who cant find a real job. Rot in hell

  41. Alecia

    My son is 7yrs old and is playing flag football for the first time! He is so excited about learning the game but his coach only allows him to hand off ball to QB during practices and today they had their first scrimmage and he didn’t get to play! It’s flag football DUDE they are suppose to be learning the fundamentals of the game my son was so disappointed he says “I didn’t sign up to be a cheerleader! I want to learn how to play I should’ve been out there running” He is right,he should’ve been out there participating. Most of the children on his team have played football prior to flag and are pretty good; but it’s Flag Football not Junior Varsity,Varsity or College ball! Am I wrong to think all children on flag football teams should have playing time experience players and inexperienced? Should I say something to my child’s sorry coach?

    • Not sure about your situation and what type of league you sign up for. Most recreation leagues have minimum play rules and so everyone must play about 20% of the game. Have you spoken to your coaches to find out why your son is not playing? I would start here. If your son was put on an established team and is not as good as the other players and its an open type Select league, he may have to get better in practice before he gets any playtime in games.

  42. Anonymous

    My son is on the varisity baseball team. He has played for this coach for every seaon, fall ball, summer ball and regular season ball. He has never missed a practice, he is the first kid to volunteer to help clean up equipment and he is usually the last kid off of the bus after away games, because he stays after to make sure the equipment as been put away and the bus is clean. Yet, he NEVER plays. In a game last night, his team was up by 11 points and the coach put in all players except my son. The child who went into the position that my son usually plays, skips practice on a regular bases and has been caught bad mouthing the coach repeatedly. The biggest difference have been able to see is that the other boys parents paid for the speaker system on the field. Shoud we have to pay for equipment to get our son playing time???????

  43. Ann Gree

    My son has been riding the bench all season. He gets to come in for a play or two during a blow out. I thought for sure he would get opportunities in practice but while watching a 2 hour practice, he got in for 1 play, the rest of the time he was sent to exercise with another group while the 1st line practiced.
    After seeing this, I have started spending more time practicing with my son over the weekend. My son has vastly improved but if he’s not practicing, the coach will not get to see his improvement.
    Let ALL the kids play!

  44. Victoria Gurfein

    Coach everything you have said makes total sense, but how do you justify coach putting in a talented player who doesn’t go to practice also while video practice by pure accident catching the same playing jumping up and down on the side lines with the football) faking injury still allowed to play?
    He’s not faster than other running backs they get timed so please explAin?
    We watch film after games no explanation why a faster runner is only put in once in a while? And starter is allowed 45 passes??

    • Maybe bad coaching, who knows. The fastest players are not always the best runners in crowds because they must cut around players. In football one rarely runs a straight line. He might also remember the plays better than everyone else. He might run over players better too and not fumble. Sorry that I cannot help you more. Has your son spoken to the coach and ask why hes not getting game reps. Communication is key.

  45. Victoria Gurfein

    Coach Parker,
    I just want to say from a perspective of a parent, it has helped me a lot to see the big picture and has given me more of an understanding of Coaches mindset. I am not an outspoken person but my sons current situation with playing HS scholarship kid before Myles sense now. It had stirred me up emotionally (to my surprise) my advise to my boys has always been be coach-able to coach period!
    I don’t agree but understand and I’m not about to make a fool of
    Myself or the team by insulting the coach, which would be totally bad for moral.
    My son was just offered a scholarship yesterday so it’s all relevant.
    You’re a good communicator, your honest and that’s what makes a greAt coach!
    Thanks!

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