With the first tournament just around the corner, it’s crucial for both players and parents to understand your team’s playing time policy and expectations. One effective way to prevent issues with parents is to communicate early and often about how playing time is determined—whether it’s earned, based on fair play, equal play.
Before every tournament, I send out an email that includes both the tournament schedule and format. This is the perfect opportunity to reiterate your playing time policy, which may vary depending on the level at which you’re coaching.
Additionally, during the practice session before the tournament, take a moment to remind your players about how playing time is determined.
This goes at the bottom of every pre-tournament email:
- Pool Play = Fair Play. Every player will play in each match but may not necessarily play every Set.
- Bracket Play – The most strategic lineup will play.
- There is much thought, planning, and strategy that goes into creating lineups for each match.
- There is no “A Team” or “B Team”. We tend to group players together based on who they have the best chemistry with during our practices. This could change throughout the tournament.
- We have 12 players and all 12 players will play in at least 1 Set during a Pool match. This may look different for every match.
- During Bracket play, the most strategic lineup will play. Playing time is not guaranteed during Bracket Play.
- Equal playing time is not always possible but we do strive to be fair.
- Not every position plays every rotation. Some positions are designed to only play 3 of the rotations while others may be able to play 5 or 6 rotations. That is just the nature of the sport. It is not an indicator of a player‘s skill.
At [Club Name], Players Play, Coaches Coach, and Parents Cheer. Parents are not allowed to ask coaches about playing time. It is the player‘s responsibility to schedule a time to meet with the coaches if they have questions or concerns about playing time.
Players must wait at least 24 hours after a tournament before playing time is addressed.