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Life Lessons In Character: Middle-School Athletes Earning Playing Time

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David Jacobson (@CoachDaveJake), a former PCA staff member, has coached children ages five to 15 in baseball, softball and basketball (including his own son and daughter), and has officiated baseball, softball, basketball and flag football.

Here, Jacobson shares how he introduces to middle-school athletes his philosophy for allocating playing time. Once players enter into middle school, often their first experience with no mandatory playing time rules, Jacobson positions playing time as earned rather than given. Explaining that they were operating in a Meritocracy, as they would in many other endeavors for the rest of their lives, he helps athletes transition to accepting more responsibility for their efforts, in order to get the reward of playing time. Jacobson also connects this lesson to greater life skills needed for success in school and work environments.