Q: At what age group does playing time in REP basketball transition from being equal to having to be earned?
A: Playing time stops being equal as players progress into the U13 age group and beyond in REP basketball. In the U10-U12 age groups, playing time is typically divided into shifts, with the exception of Coalition and OBLX games where playing time is not shifted.
Q: What is the primary difference in playing time allocation between REP basketball and recreational leagues for youth players?
A: In REP basketball, playing time is not evenly distributed, unlike recreational leagues. REP basketball emphasizes competition, and players must earn their court time through performance and effort.
Q: We all the paid the same amount of money, shouldn't the player all get equal playing time?
A: Parents invest in REP basketball for their children to obtain a basketball education and the opportunity for their children to earn playing time during games. Earned playing time distinguishes REP basketball from less competitive streams like house league where playing time is sometimes evenly distributed. When it comes to playing time in REP: playing time is NOT a right, but every player has the right to EARN their minutes.
Q: Who decides how much playing time a player has earned?
The head coach is the only person who decides how much time a player has earned.
Q: Wouldn't not playing many minutes make my child want to quit basketball?
A: We experimented by creating a smaller team roster of 11 players and implement a policy of equal playing time for a U15 high school team. The results of this approach surprised us. We observed that guaranteeing equal playing time led to decreased attendance at practices, a lack of motivation among players to improve their skills, and even a reluctance among some players to attend games when their minutes were secured.
Contrary to our expectations, we discovered that players enjoy competing for minutes. They are eager to work hard and are willing to accept less playing time to be in a competitive environment. This revelation prompted us to shift our strategy, where players must earn their playing time. Interestingly, this change resulted in increased enthusiasm among players and revitalized their interest in the game.
Q: What benefits does the emphasis on earning playing time bring to players beyond the basketball court?
A: Understanding that playing time must be earned encourages a strong work ethic, builds character, and fosters traits such as resilience, perseverance, and a commitment to self-improvement.
Q: If my child doesn't get a lot of playing time in games, aren't they just wasting their time?
A: In a competitive basketball environment like REP, the most valuable aspect is practice, which constitutes the vast majority of time players spend in REP basketball. During practice, all players receive equal playing time and development. Practice is where they obtain their basketball education, an asset that lasts a lifetime. Basketball is a game that many play throughout their entire lives, and their education will benefit them for a lifetime, even if a child doesn't log significant game time in their current REP season.
Q: If my child wants to earn more playing time, what should they do?
A) If a player desires more playing time, they should bring a notebook and pencil to practice, then approach the coach directly and ask, "Hey coach, what can I do to earn more playing time?" The player should take notes and keep a log of the coach's instructions. Refer to the notebook on a regular basis and continue working hard on the coach's guidance. The player can bring his notebook and ask the coach at EVERY practice what they can do to improve. This will be the most effective approach, putting the player in the best possible position to earn more minutes on the court.
INSPIRATIONAL "TRUE" STORY:
On a late Friday night in June, around 9 PM, I (Coach Jason) found myself brimming with energy and decided to head to my local community center for a round of hoops. Upon reaching the court, I noticed only one other person there, both of us engaged in shooting on the net. Eager for some exercise, I proposed a 1 vs. 1 basketball game. He agreed, and we decided to play. At that point, I was 44 years old, with hints of grey hair beginning to show. The player I faced was an athletic high school student entering the 9th grade. So, when I won the first game 15-3, he was quite surprised by the outcome!
After the game, I revealed that I was a basketball coach. Recognizing his potential, I offered to provide him with some pointers to enhance his skills. The impromptu lesson extended into a 35-minute shooting session. I suggested a rematch, and this time, he showed improvement, with me winning 15-6. After the second game, he mentioned he was entering the 9th grade and was born in 2008. Coincidentally, I happened to be coaching a team starting in the fall. I shared our team's information, encouraging him to try out in September.
As September rolled around, Nathan attended the tryouts. However, lacking REP experience, he struggled to keep up with players entering their fifth year of REP basketball. Acknowledging his athleticism and willingness to learn, I made Nathan an offer post-tryout. I proposed he practice with the team for the season, affording him the opportunity to learn and potentially catch up to the team's skill level. He agreed to this arrangement.
Early in the season, injuries left us short-handed at some games, prompting us to invite Nathan to suit up as an extra player. Fortunately, this occurred quite often, and he attended games regularly. There were instances, especially in games where we held a substantial lead, where he played limited minutes, typically 1-2 per game. Despite not playing extensively, Nathan never missed a practice and never complained. His father supported him before games, rebounding for him while he practiced shooting, and Nathan continued to work hard.
However, in the REP level, playing time is earned, irrespective of other factors. The 1-2 minutes he received often didn't justify keeping him in any longer, sometimes being pulled out earlier than expected due to turnovers. A low point was when he inadvertently scored on his own basket. Despite setbacks, he maintained almost 100% attendance at practice, was consistently punctual, and demonstrated unwavering focus. Towards the season's end, Nathan transformed into a defensive and rebounding asset. Consequently, I could afford to put him in games, instructing him to focus on defense, grab rebounds, and avoid turnovers, allowing him 5-6 minutes in games where we held a significant lead.
The season concluded, and while Nathan was a great kid and a hard worker, from a basketball perspective, he hadn't made a significant impact on the court. Approximately 45 days after the season ended, we received a call from an AAU team looking for a scrimmage. Despite our team not having practiced for almost two months, we agreed to play against a strong and talented all-star type team. The game started, and it quickly became evident that we were in trouble. The opposing team was in peak shape and extremely talented, while we were out of shape and outmatched. Trailing 45-18, having exhausted all strategies and options, I glanced at the end of the bench and saw Nathan sitting there. I thought, why not give him a chance? "Nathan, get in there, give us some defense and rebounds!" Nathan entered the game, and in the first play, he stole the ball and ran it down the court for a lay-up, with two massive 6'4 players trailing. Minutes later, he scored again, and then again. The entire team started chanting "NATHAN, NATHAN!" We were in shock. He wasn't just scoring; he was scoring against the highest level of competition we had ever faced, single-handedly carrying our entire team. He concluded the game with an impressive 20 points. While we ultimately lost, Nathan had significantly narrowed the gap. The entire team was in shock at what we had just witnessed.
As the next season commenced, Nathan continued exactly where he had left off in the last game. Today, he is a regular in the starting lineup, typically playing more than 50% of the game. He features prominently in big games and crucial moments, often playing significant minutes while players who have been on the team for six years either don't play at all or play very little. Through sheer hard work and determination, Nathan has outworked his teammates, earning the playing time that was once theirs.
- Coach Jason