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Jr Colts Philosophy on Playing Time

We understand that many physical and emotional changes will take place in the journey from middle school to high school.  Star players in the 6th grade who grow early, may not be star players in high school.  Smaller, shyer players in middle school, may become the bigger, faster, stronger players in high school.  With this understanding, our emphasis is more on player development than on winning middle school football games.  This translates into equal distribution of reps in practice and significant playing time in games.  

However, there are circumstances where game time may not be significant.  First and foremost, the safety and well being of the players must be considered.  Players need to demonstrate in practice that they can use the proper techniques to play the game safely.  

Since one of football's life lessons is that hard work is rewarded, players who consistently do not give their best efforts in practice, or who are a distraction to other players, or are disrespectful or otherwise misbehave, regardless of their skill level, may see reduced playing time.

In addition to physical safety, we also consider emotional well being, meaning we do not want to put a player in a situation they cannot handle with the risk of having a negative effect on their self-esteem.  We manage this by watching the match-ups closely in practice and in games, and in some cases making agreements with opposing coaches to play lesser-developed players at certain points in games.  In the past, when we had larger rosters, we would schedule additional games for these players where they could play both ways for the whole game.  

Additionally, the player has to be willing.  Parents might be surprised to know that sometimes when players are asked to go into the game, they decline.  This is sometimes accompanied by a sudden illness or injury, or a coach will say, "I need somebody to go in on defense", and watch as a player slides behind others hoping not to be noticed.  Of course, we try to encourage these players and build up their confidence, especially in practice.  In some cases, we have even seen that a player just wants to do what they think gives the team a better chance to win so that the kids will be happier after the game.

Finally, while we all take training and work hard to be good at coaching, we are only human.  We ask you to forgive us if we at times we overlook something we shouldn't, or have moments of competitiveness that distract us from our real priorities, and a kid gets less playing time than they deserve as a result.  Of course, a kid who is willing and safe to play should never get left out of a game completely, and if this ever happens, we will likely not forgive ourselves before you will.


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