Football is a highly competitive sport. Teams typically carry anywhere from 30-70 players on their roster. However, there are only 11 positions on the field at one time.
If your child is not one of the 11 to play on offense, defense, or special teams, this can be very frustrating as a parent.
Not playing can also kill a kid’s confidence, as they are often embarrassed that their friends are in the game but they are not. We understand you, as a parent, are probably frustrated as well.
In this article, we’re going to show you 5 different things you can do to help your child deal with not getting playing time.
Child Not Getting Playing Time
As a parent, it’s one of the hardest feelings to watch your son or daughter sit on the sideline. Especially if your kid loves the sport they are playing, and works hard in every practice, but just doesn’t have the talent level to get on the field.
Equal playing time with other players is often split for many reasons.
The first is talent level. If the person in front of your child has more talent, then your child needs to develop enough skills to be better than them. Remember, coaches are trying to win games so they will put their best players on the field to do so.
If the talent level between your child and another player in the same position is even, coaches will often look at practice habits. If your young athlete has bad practice habits or is lazy, there is a good chance the other player will get chosen over yours.
Next, how well does your child know the playbook?
Playing time in football requires the player to be able to comprehend plays in the playbook, and execute them on the field. If they are a step behind processing or are doing their own thing on the field, a coach could lose trust in the player. Athletes need to know what their job is and when to execute it.
How To Get More Playing Time
Here are 5 ways that you can help your child deal with a lack of playing time.
Practice In The Yard
The first thing you can do is practice in your yard or a local field. The best way to get better at catching a football is to catch a football. If your player wants to get better at tackling, then they need to be put in situations where they can work on their approach, wrap, and finish.
All of these techniques can be worked in the yard. The only thing your player needs from you is your time.
Work and personal activities might get in the way of you being able to practice in the yard with your son or daughter, but if you want them to get better you need to sacrifice that.
We recommend setting a schedule with your players where they know after school, work, or dinner that you have set aside time to help them get better, each week.
Build The Player’s Confidence
The first thing that starts to wither from a player who gets benched or doesn’t play is their confidence. It’s the coach’s job to maintain their confidence, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.
As the parent, it’s your job to make sure the young athlete’s confidence doesn’t waiver. On car rides home and even at the dinner table, build the confidence of your young athlete by telling them:
- How well they are progressing
- Highlights of the week’s practices
- Talk about ways they can be better. Have them identify strengths and weaknesses, so they can work on their weaknesses and they are conscious of them.
If the young athlete’s confidence is crushed, then it will be hard for them to get excited about practices, which will result in even less playing time.
Teach Them How To Be A Good Teammate
Sitting on the bench isn’t fun. No one ever looked forward to standing on the sidelines while their team plays.
In a sport like football, if your young athlete doesn’t get playing time on offense, defense, or special teams, there’s an opportunity to teach them valuable lessons.
Have that tough conversation with them, teaching them important life lessons such as competition and success are predicated on hard work.
If they are on the sideline, they shouldn’t sulk. They should be the best teammate they can possibly be during the game. The best example of this is cheering on teammates, giving high fives, and being positive. This will help your young athlete stand out on the sidelines and get the coach’s attention.
Ask The Coaches Why You’re Not Playing
One of the best things you can do is ask the head coach or the assistant coaches about playing time. Now, we say it’s one of the best things because transparency is key.
However, 99% of parents approach this the wrong way. They approach the head coach with a temper or attitude, which then makes the situation even worse for your kid.
Remember, every coach wants to win and has expectations from their administration to win. If they believe that not playing your son or daughter is in the best interest of the team, then there is a reason behind it.
Playing time is typically earned, and in order to play over other players, your talent level needs to be above theirs.
If your player is lazy, late to practice, can’t grasp the playbook, or just doesn’t have the technique/talent needed to play, then you’ll need to improve mentally and physically.
If you are going to approach the head coach, simply ask the coach if you can talk to them after practice. Ask politely “What can my son or daughter do to get more playing time?”. Leave it open-ended so the coach can give you specifics.
Take those specifics and make your child aware of what they need to do to get better. This will help them hyper-focus on what they need to do so you both can work toward it.
Again, the approach is everything.
Find Private Coaches Or Camps
If your player continues to struggle season after season, they might need some extra work in the off-season. Typically private coaches, who focus on one particular area or expertise, can give your young athlete all the individual attention they need to get better.
Private coaches and camps are great for your players to learn additional skills that maybe their coach didn’t teach them, or have the time to teach them because they were too busy working with the starters.
This can also help build a player’s confidence as they will have 100% attention from the coach, where they can develop their skills.
Private coaches can help players at a young age, but be patient as they will not magically become a better football players overnight. They will need to consistently work on their skills at home as well as with the trainer.
Players should want and expect to play. However, if they don’t have the right attitude, work ethic, and mindset to be a football player, there’s a good chance the bench is waiting for them.
Winning is just a piece of the puzzle, skills and fundamentals are major contributors in football.
These skills they learn at the youth level will help transfer to the high school level, and hopefully into college. Not everyone can be a great football player. Only certain players have the discipline and work ethic to acquire the proper skills.
As a parent, you can help your child to attain these skills over the course of their adolescence.
If you have any questions about how to get better at football, feel free to reach out to us [email protected] or follow us on social media @vIQtorySports.