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The Playing Time Dilemma: Should Every Kid Play?

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Joe Ehrmann (@JoeEhrmann76), a PCA National Advisory Board Member and winner of PCA's Ronald L. Jensen Award for Lifetime Achievement, is a former NFL Pro Bowl defensive lineman, founder of Coach For America and author of InSide Out Coaching. Ehrmann gained additional prominence when Parade Magazine dubbed him “the most important coach in America” for his unorthodox, but highly effective, coaching at Gilman School in the Baltimore area. Ehrmann was also the subject of Season of Life by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Marx.

If coaches feel that not every player deserves playing time (in particular, quality playing time) Ehrmann challenges that notion by urging coaches to ask themselves tough questions:

  • Why do I coach?
  • What is my coaching philosophy?
  • How do I measure success?
  • What is my purpose or intent in coaching?

In Ehrmann's opinion, every coach should aim to positively impact every player on their team, and should have a definitive statement and philosophy built around that. If ever you're questioning how to allocate playing time, starting with the why can be foundational in developing your strategy and philosophy moving forward.