Ikkala
Last month

U14 Court Time

Hi Team,

I wont say where I am for privacy reason.

I will preface and say I am a coach myself. My son plays Under 14s Div 1 as a top age athlete. He was a Div 1 bottom age athlete too. His role has regressed even more than last year under a new Head Coach.

I totally concede and I am aware as parents we think our children are better than they actually are.

My son was coming on the 2nd qtr at around the 5 min mark and also in the 4th at around the 5th min mark. He is getting anywhere between 6 to 8 minutes as frequently does not play in the 1st or 3rd. Upon returning from a recent tournament he said "am I really that bad dad?". He is not encouraged to attack and his role is mostly to rest the primary PG when he is tired which unfortunately is not very often as the primary PG is pretty fit.

I should note another kid was crying after receiving 3mins for one particular game, and essentially players from 6 - 10 not getting much court time either. The buy in from the bench guys is a very low at present.

I guess my coaching philosophy is a bit different to others as I am about development particularly during the regular season. I will always run my best players a more on average however I really make an effort to get kids on each qtr, even if it is just 2 mins per qtr.

He went 2 from 4 in his last game, boxed out, played hard defensive and so on. Admittedly he is yet to have a growth spurt however I just struggle to rationalize giving kids minimal court time (on the extreme end). I totally understand it is rep but at what point is it at the detriment of the kids? What is the point of training 3 hours per week, plus training in your own time, if you don't get game reps? I honestly believe players should be getting at least 20 - 25% of game time at the minimum for u12s and u14s. Perhaps at the u16s and u18s when kids have more resilience this can shift and change?

But I think personally I am not all about winning at the detriment of bringing 6 to 10 along the journey at least for youth basketball. If your a volunteer coach where we don't get paid in Australia nobody is going to be the next Phil Jackson and getting paid millions to retire early :)

Am I being unreasonable and being one of those annoying parents? I have requested for him to drop down to Div 2 however this can be denied as it can disrupt teams. I have noted that we would sadly walk from the season and look to train/develop and come back next year if this not possible.

Hopefully we made the right decision on his behalf as he has lost A LOT of confidence under this particular coach.

As a junior back in the day I played in the 3s for 12/14s and finally went Div 1 from 16s onward up until my 20s before having a short career in the VBL.

My tune used to be always play Div 1 so you can train with the best regardless of court time, but as a father and coach, I now see the argument to play down a division if it means you actually get some experience on the court. Of course you need to train hard and earn your minutes but I truly do believe there is a fine line.

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DeepWombat  
Last month

I'd suggest asking for a 10 min chat with the coach after a future training, just one on one, while your son gets some more shots in. I'd politely ask what the coach wants your son to work on, to improve himself and to help the team more. I find that there is far less feedback in junior basketball than there should be. You may find out that your son is not doing something that the coach expects, which can be focused on. Or you may find out that the coach just doesn't like the fact that your son is developing physically later than his peers - in that case, I'd suggest a similarly polite chat with the DOC to figure out achievable next steps.

But hopefully the coach will appreciate the reach out and become more invested in your son's development. If your son can improve or implement some of the things the coach wants to see, that should naturally result in more playing time.

Good luck.

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Footloose  
Last month

It would be empowering for the kid if he has that conversation with the coach himself. He will also gain the coaches respect. You could be there to support him, but don't weigh in.

My kid had that conversation herself when she was in U12’s, she took onboard the feedback, worked hard & was a starter by the 2nd half of the season (VC).

Avoid quitting though. I don’t believe lack of court time is a valid reason to quit. If the coach was abusive, different story.

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retired  
Last month

It is not easy as a parent to see that but you being a coach should be seeing it differently.

All coaches are different and what they see will be different to what you see and have different philosophies.

I am also a rep coach and have had issues with parents coming up to me straight after a game and having a go at me about their childs court time and this is in U18 Girls.

The parent said why did his daughter get little court time when one other player missed so many shots.

His daughter plays the 4/5 spot and the player he was talking about plays the 1/2 spot and in the particular game she scored 25% of our points.

I actually just turned and walked away as our Association has put out memos to parents to say not to approach the coach straight after a game because emotions are playing a big part at that time.

As he and his daughter were leaving he told me I should hang my head in shame.

I totally ignored all of it.

As suggested at a convenient time later certainly look to speak with the coach because your child is a bit young to sit down and have a 1 on 1 but if an older age group I believe the player can approach the coach because they are getting older and can look to take some resonibility for their own happenings.

If you are not happy with the coaches response you can then approach the DOC to discuss with them

Don't look to pull them out just look to encourage them to work harder and yes it is hard but stay positive as things may change.

What is to be remembered is the coach has 10 players to look after whereas most parents only have their 1 child.

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Manders  
Last month

Some great advice here. A calm discussion with the coach is the first step. The coach will benefit from understanding how court time is impacting the confidence of the player (sometimes this is not as so clear to a coach, so worth them knowing), and the player will of course benefit in knowing the things they need to work on to help the team and get more minutes.

As an aside, scoring 25% of a teams points is great, so long as the player does not take a disproportionate amount of shots! That which is counted gets done - so if you just count points, kids will go for it and will focus on it to the detriment of the team.

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retired  
Last month

Thanks Manders,
The player who scored 25% of the points on the day did not take an excessive amount of shots and is one of our top 3 players.

The player whose parent had a go at me was embarrased what her father did and we spoke about it at training the following week.

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Ikkala  
Last month

I was a bit hasty sadly and full of emotion and already requested a Div 2 position. It might not transpire. My son is in a tough place at the moment as he lost a close member in the family and I fear continuing to ride the bench might be at the detriment of continuing to play the game sadly. It is also quite expensive and the cost of living has made us think perhaps a year off training and hitting the gym might be best for him!
All great advice though and I usually always encourage resilience and not backing down from a challenge however I feel like this particular instance is an exception.

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joe_M  
Last month

I'm going to approach this topic from a very different direction.

I just want everyone to remember 2 key points. 1) these are kids and 2) this isn’t the NBA

Therefore as a former player and coach, and current primary school teacher with a PE background, my belief is that every player gets a fair and reasonable amount of court time. In 2024, it costs an enormous amount of money to play. Uniform, fees, registration, just ridiculous costs involved and if you are the first player or the eighth player, they pay the same.

Winning is great, but since they are just kids. Player development is far more important over winning. With cost of living increasing every day, or so it feels, I’d want to go and see my son or daughter play.

If they were getting DNP-CD, I would talk to the coach and remind him/her that they are kids and they are not an NBA coach. If that didn’t work, I would speak to the JDO before asking for a clearance to a club where every player is treated with fairness and close to fair court time.

Allow kids to play and enjoy the game.

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embiid  
Last month

As others have suggested a calm conversation with the coach not on a game day is definitely something that should occur to hear what the coach is thinking however from what you describe I don't think it will make any difference if he is consistently only getting 6 - 8 minutes a game, and as you said other kids are getting less than 3. In my opinion that is disgraceful but not uncommon. Unfortunately many of the div 1 coaches today play to win at all costs and don't really give a shit if some of their players miss out, to them it is the price of doing business. Just keep in mind it is early days in his basketball journey, the most important thing is your child's enjoyment of the game, if he enjoys it he will work on his game and get better, it's fine to go down to div 2 especially at U14 level.

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MICHAEL_MACGYVER  
Last month

While I agree with some of the comments already made your son is in a Div 1 side...(performance side) assuming your not from Aus but here in a 1s team there is no such thing as equal court time if your looking for something like that you'd be lookng at potentially 3s or lower (development squad).

Want more court time got to work harder....both in training and in games (training more so - have to make it hard for the court not to pick you)

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MICHAEL_MACGYVER  
Last month

sorry Coach not court

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+  
Last month

Unless you have a policy it's the coaches call and unfortunately tough if you don't make the court. Any decent coach would balance it out a bit or make it clear to the group how it works so you understood. I'd look elsewhere for more time as your unfortunately not factored in the coaches plans

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retired  
Last month

As a rep coach I would meet with the parents before the season started and tell them my rules and discuss court time and other matters so they know right from the start where I am coming from.

They can then make a decision as to what they want to do and then as you get in to the season if concerns arise the parents know what was said at the start.

For U12's in NSW they have to play in both halves and the scoretable must tick the player number when they go on.

For 12's and 14's it is more about development but it is still representative basketball and not local comp.In Division 1 remember also the team is competing to possibly make the Australian U14 Club Championships so it is actually a competitive competition to achieve the Clubs and so the best 10 players should be selected and there are times when court team could mean someone not getting as much.


For 16's and 18's the development period is over and taken more serious and no it is not for sheep stations but coaches are looking to be more competitive.

Remember virtually all sports would have situations arise where team selections are made each week and someone will miss out and not be happy.

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101 annon  
Last month

I've coached at this level & gone to 14s club nationals
There is no equal court time but I saw it as my job to make all my players better by the end off the year
Obviously as the season goes along you have your harder & easier games but you have to get every child’s confidence up for whenever they are needed. I sat down with every child & explained their roll & gave them their expected court time for them to make a decision.
Once that was all played out I had no problems during the year with court time
I purely see U14s as development & you don’t want kids to leave the game

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hoopjunkie  
Last month

This has happened to my son in the past. As a Dad, I can relate to what you and your son are going through. And I hated the coach for it. As an ex-player and ex-coach, in division 1, I understand that the team is expected to play to win. I also understand that coaches at times have their own bias to some of their players as well. This is happening in most div 1 teams and is a reality in rep basketball. Some parents feel compelled that there's the need to do something. For me, I just tried to keep my son motivated, just grind it out and train harder. There was the strong thought of moving club the following season but I left that decision to my son and he chose to stay after weighing the pros and cons objectively.

I personally don't think talking to the DOC is a good option. They will always side with their coaches unless you have a personal relationship with him or you are a club sponsor lol. It might just put your son's name in bad light.

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BALLER#3  
Last month

Prioritising winning over development at under 14s is just wrong. I don't care what division it is, every player at that age should be on relatively even standing for playing time. Good luck getting better with under 10 mins a game, especially in 2 minute bursts.

A coach at that level needs to be judged on the development of the players, not on the end of season ladder or number of championships. Too many get caught up in their own pride at the detriment of the players development.

If the player isn't at the level, then a conversation has to be had to drop them to a lower division, rather than simply benching them. Then they can continue to play and develop in a more comfortable skill range.

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hoopjunkie  
Last month

I've seen a coach play a short rotation, very little minutes to 2 of their top age kids. The team won the njc and vjbl that year and the coach as expected won coach of year. So court time isn't in the metrics.

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Cake  
Last month

In terms of whether it's right or not to have kids consistently playing so few minutes in u14, I feel this is a matter of communication and expectation. If the team is very strong and there's a big discrepancy between some players as far as impact on the game, a coach might feel that it's unfair to the better players to sit and watch. However, my message to my better players was always that we couldn't train effectively without the whole squad, and that meant everyone deserved a chance to play. I can see an argument for either approach, but either way, kids and families need to know what they're getting into. If this isn't communicated by the coach/club prior to the season, you're inevitably going to have parents who are upset. You'll get upset parents anyway, but it makes a big difference when you can refer them to the email that explained how things would work, and why.

As a parent, I don't think I'd be asking whether my kid's coach is doing the 'right' thing. I'd be asking whether the situation works for my kid, and if it doesn't, I'd consider sticking out the season then seeking a change, versus seeking more immediate change in some manner. But seeking change because the coach is doing it 'wrong' is going to alienate people and I don't think the message it sends to the kid is great, either. "You're sitting on the bench because the coach is wrong" isn't what I'd want to convey, even if it's what I thought.

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Respect the Game  
Last month

Only one club has teams in Div 1 and 2 and does not surprise me.

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TrevorTorrance  
Last month

My daughter's U16 Div 1 team is facing a similar situation. During the recent grading session, the coach made questionable decisions, such as benching my daughter (the team's leading scorer and a strong defensive player) and the two other top players in a crucial crossover game. As a result, Team 1 has been relegated to Div 2, where they are expected to dominate the competition. When I raised my concerns with the coach via sms (he didnt answer his phone ), his response was unexpectedly harsh. He expressed the opinion that the team was not worthy of competing in Div 1 and criticised the players, even suggesting that they were hogging the ball (despite my daughter only playing 25% of the game). This left many of the girls feeling disheartened, with some even in tears. Despite the assurances of the association that they did everything possible to keep us in Div 1, it's clear that the coach's actions have had a significant impact. To make matters worse, the coach has now distanced himself from the team, leaving the WhatsApp group and seemingly ignoring all communication from concerned parents as the season opener approaches. It's frustrating to see such a lack of accountability and communication from someone entrusted with coaching our children. As long as the girls aren't treated as collateral damage in this situation, I'm hopeful that we can move forward positively.

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Ikkala  
Last month

Thanks for all the comments.

Whilst I agree with most I and understand they are completing for Australian Club Championships I just struggle to appreciate how a player can get better if he plays in such shorts bursts and on that note up to 6 minutes a game.

In my opinion, and I could be way off, the coach is putting his reputation as a coach ahead of developing all the players.

The reality is 99% of the players wont play professionally so why not at least give kids a minimum of 2 mins a qtr .... thats still only 8 mins of a possible 32 which is 1/4 of the game.

It does upset me as a parent and frankly I would never coach like that. At the end of the day they are kids particularly at the 12/14s standard.

We are going to ride it out. We have a meeting with the coach tomorrow (potentially at the detriment of getting a bad rep as a family) but it is what it is. We also live in a regional setting so it is difficult to find another club unless we moved back to the big cities.

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+  
Last month

I've been interstate twice to games where my kids haven't played - we made up court time in another comp - it was disappointing for sure and destroyed their confidence but it was just bad luck that's the way the coach ran the ship.

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sixtiesrockstar  
Last month

See this a lot at DIv1. I think clubs should be more proactive in this area and have a strategy for teams with 9-10 players where couple of players barely play at Div1 level. Leave it to the coach and they will just sit kids on the bench as they try to win. Would be good to see clubs rotating these couple of bench players with the top player in div2. Definitely better for development to go play good mins in div2 than barely playing in 1's.

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+  
Last month

it sounds good sixties but try moving kids and parents - rotate the 7,8 and 9th players from D1 through D2 - problem happens when the D2 player outshines them. Our club ran away from this idea exactly because of that - 2 teams in 1 grade then the 3rd team beats the 2nd or 4th beats 3rd - then parents are up in arms

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+  
Last month

i like the idea of reminding players they are in squads and interchangeable at least within that squad. Then you let them know a team for state champs, interstate tourney, classics etc will come from the squad. So many want the lock in from week one. I've seen it all with manoeuvrers to get into the first team - it takes a strong head coach.

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Ikkala  
Last month

It is a dog eat dog world out there boys. Time to hit the peptides *sarcasm* lol.

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Ikkala  
Last month

Let me ask you all this...

If you had the choice of 2 clubs with two different cultures which one would you go too?

Club 1

Developers their players. Generally puts their bottom age kids in Div 2 unless they are really excelling in which case they will put them in Div 1. While winning is important the clubs philosophy is development is equally as important. The club struggles initially however all 10 players train very hard in their own time due to the enjoyment they get from the sport. This club has a fantastic culture that balances winning games and giving good opportunity and development to all their players. They will naturally play their top players as much as possible however other players catch up and they have a deep bench.

Club 2

Priorities winning at the expense of players 6 to 10. Finish top of the ladder each year. Players 1 to 5 have egos and are relatively harsh to their bench players. Bench players are scared to make turnovers and make plays. Gain eligibility to Aus Club Champs. Don't get into the top allocation playoffs due to not having enough legs and an undeveloped squad fro 6 to 10 and other clubs having a deeper bench and outrunning them. Players quit as they move up the age groups as there is little reward for putting time into their game outside of practice when their sample size to show their abilities is limited not to mention the mental side of their game never improved due to lack of reps.

As parents, which club are you picking? Who really cares about Aus Club Champs at the end of the day? VC Champ and the like are a great standard.

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Hooping  
Last month

OP probably should change teams or clubs as the bitterness rightly or wrongly is setting in. Thank you for the post as it is a good discussion point.

A few things to note.

Most player development should happen at practice and club games.

Going to a lower rep team to get more court time sometimes may come at the expense of lower standards at the next level down. The standard of training shouldn't be as intense, typically lower level of athletes, less developed more bottom age players. This also gives an opportunity for another player to be in or move into division 1. If the Division 2 team is more about development which is being preached, then at the moment the Div 1 athlete is receiving on average 7 mins per game. The Div 2 team focussed on development he might receive 16 minutes per game.

So potentially a difference 9 minutes per game, assuming no injuries to any starters happen. At the u16 level the games are longer and there are more opportunities. Is the difference of 9 minutes per game worth the lower level practies, the missed opportunities of not being a div 1 player, the different friendships, next season at trials will be regarded as a div 2 player and not a div 1 player.

Sometimes there are only 8 Division 1 standard players, but teams/coaches are forced to take 10 or now ever 11 or 12 players.

Some coaches are not capable of running a sub rotation - which can involves varying amounts of court time across 10 players, being able to rewards players doing a good job with extra court time, whilst also taking into accounts injuries, illness, foul trouble etc. So they just stick to the same regular subbing patterns, and for those players starting on the bench it doesn't really matter what they do. It can be a mind destroying situation for them.

No mention of how close the games are week in week out. For many players going to Australian Club Champs will be the highlights of their basketball careers and likely for the OP player.

The elite junior who probably deserves based on ability and effort to be playing 30 mins per game, gets reduced to 24 mins a game due to new focus on developing all 10 players (regardless of ability/effort). Expect elite junior player to then transfer to another club next season to get the court time they believe they deserve.

So the standard of your players has suddenly dropped and not increased.

Again: Most player development should happen at practice and club games. That is why players work with other trainers, do shooting reps etc.

Parents get to (hope to) watch the development at the games.

Sometimes you need to tougher times to appreciate the better times.

I think Cake's post above shows a good understanding and experiences of it.










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hoopjunkie  
Last month

a rep game is just an hour a week. there are 6 other nights you can get development from. but it is definitely a waste of time going to rep games if when your son will play very limited minutes, that i get.

please keep us posted of the outcome.

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Ikkala  
Last month

@ Hooping , definitely a bit upset, but I am very reasonable and will get over it with time. When you live regional changing clubs is not an option. There is also a lot of travel involved and the $$$ is big. As I have noted multiple times I appreciate all the input as it helped with my considered response.

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sixtiesrockstar  
Last month

+, if the Div2 player outshines the Div1 players, you have solved the issue of rotating players, then the team selection is wrong and Div2 player should be promoted permanently.

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Hooping  
Last month

All the best @ Ikkala

Thanks again for the post.

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Karma Basketball  
Two weeks ago

Practice = Homework
Training = School
Game = Exam

The player (and supportive parents) are ultimately responsible for how far the player gets in this sport.

At junior level, Game time is not what makes or breaks a player. Practice and train with purpose. Then, when presented with the opportunity of game time, it can be maximised.

Players who are passionate about this sport are resilient. They relish the thought of practicing and training. Every minute spent on the court during a game is a bonus. It is a team sport. The primary role of the player is to serve the team. They don't get to decide how they serve the team. That is for the club and the coach to decide.

IME, one way of fostering more game time is to do exactly what the coach asks, all the time, every time. Even if the player is on the court for only a few minutes, if they do exactly what is asked of them, that will often lead to more game time - assuming the playing skills are up to scratch.

Resilient players realise sooner rather than later where they are placed in the pecking order. If they are happy where they are, they will continue to work and progress. If they are not happy where they are, they can work their backsides off to change that ... or they can consider finding a different sport better suited to their needs or desires.

I don't buy into the idea that DIV 1 (VC) in any age group is DEVELOPMENTAL. It is about winning! Many assocations are building U18 VC teams from U12 level. It is one continuous conveyer belt. This is not necessarily the best approach for a number of reasons. But it is the safest approach and that is why it is adopted. Unfortunately, that can mean that decent junior players miss out on opportunities for a number of reasons often not directly related to playing basketball. However, resilient players continue to develop their games in spite of that and end up better off in the long run. And less resilient players or "favoured" players who don't put in the work usually end up worse off.

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