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What To Do When Players Are Frustrated With Equal Playing Time Rules

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"I coach U-12 in an organization that is committed to equal playing time for all players. But the huge disparity in skill-level among the players on my team has them frustrated. Players of greater skill wish we were more competitive, and the less skilled wish they could keep up. What steps can I take to keep this a positive experience for the players?"

PCA Response by Joe Scally, PCA Trainer–Chicago
I expect that all of your players have at least some strengths, and that all have room for improvement. Your task as coach is to determine where each player stands on the skill spectrum and help them all improve throughout the season.

One way is by finding a “just-right challenge” for each player, an individualized challenge that will require the player to stretch beyond current capabilities or skill levels without becoming overwhelmed. Just-right challenges entail a certain amount of frustration for each player as they push themselves to learn something new. One technique you can use to keep everyone interested and motivated is to have a player who is especially good at a particular skill demonstrate it for the team. Also, during drills, pair a more accomplished player with one who is still learning the skill at the heart of that drill.

To keep the players motivated, praise and encourage them for the things they do correctly and the effort they make to improve. In the long run this will keep kids excited about the sport and make your team a stronger one.

Download a printable version of this resource, including any additional commentary from PCA, by clicking the PDF below. To read more questions and answers like this, or to submit your own question to the Ask PCA blog, click here.

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