Playing Time Philosophy

Playing Time Philosophy - Understanding the goal of the game and the goal of teaching life lessons though sports.

The Game is the Goal

The entire purpose of practicing and learning the game is so players can eventually execute what they’ve learned in a competitive match. If a player does not get to play in those matches, what is the point of them learning and becoming better players? They could just as easily get exercise and learn teamwork by playing another sport.

We are fully aware that the players do not get better sitting on the bench.
• They practice to put those skills and ideas to the test in competition.
• Any good team needs a strong squad and a strong squad is only built if players get playing time.
• If I picked you at tryouts, I saw something of value to add to the squad now or in the future so I need to develop you. If I got this wrong, it is on me and you should not suffer because I got it wrong.
• Kids want to have fun and playing the game is fun, watching from the bench not so much.

The goal of teaching life lessons and character.

The most powerful motivational tool a coach has in teaching life lessons and building character is the control over playing time. SSC  believes strongly that playing time decisions should be left to the discretion of our coaches. Other than having minimum playing time rules, we do not endorse or legislate the concept of “equal playing time” at a league-wide level.

People occasionally ask, “Why doesn’t  SSC have rules that mandate equal playing time.” The answer is simple. We put a greater emphasis on teaching life lessons than we do trying to make everyone happy. We strive to create an environment where both skilled and unskilled players are motivated to work harder and improve their fundamental skills. Legislating equal playing time reinforces an “entitlement mentality” that sets kids up for failure and disappointment later on in life when they face real-life situations where effort and skill trump entitlement time after time. SSC strives to help our players develop strong character and prepare them for life events such as trying out for their high school team, applying to college, interviewing for their first job, etc.

Allowing coaches to make discretionary decisions on playing time is an important ingredient in SSC vision for teaching kids life lessons such as the importance of hard work, learning to be a genuine team player and overcoming adversity. We challenge coaches to balance good judgment with a genuine concern for the best interests of the team and the players as they make age-appropriate, discretionary decisions on playing time. Along those lines, we provide coaches with the following general guidelines for making playing time decisions:

Playing Time Factors:

Playing time should be determined by the coaching staff based on the following criteria:

1. Attendance and level of effort demonstrated during practice.

2. Overall attitude, respect, and commitment to team play demonstrated during practice and games.

3. Skill level demonstrated in practice and games.

• Age vs. Talent:: As players mature, ability will naturally become more and more a determining factor in playing time; assuming all players are showing up for practice and displaying a high level of effort, respect, etc. As players get older, it is very appropriate to gradually ratchet-up the impact that a player’s skill level has in determining playing time as we try and prepare young people for the time when skill and ability truly do matter in life.

Simply put, at the Competitive level, assuming all players are fairly equal in attendance, effort, respect, etc, playing time should be fairly equal across the board regardless of differences in talent. However, as players move-up through the various age divisions, skill level will have a greater influence on playing time. So, assuming attendance, effort, respect, etc are on par, parents and players should not be surprised when they see a team player with marginal skills playing less time  while some of his teammates with more advanced skills are playing more time. If parents or players have questions about playing time, they should direct their concerns privately and respectfully to the head coach at an appropriate time and place. (i.e. not during a practice or game.) it is to be expected.

Some players will inevitably get more playing time than others. Players will be given an opportunity to earn starting positions based on their skillful execution during practices and games. Players on the bench are expected to support their teammates from the bench, watch and learn from what’s happening on the field...and be ready to play when their turn to contribute comes around. Some players may be selected to play a supporting role on their respective teams. Again, parents need to be supportive of this role and reinforce to their kids how crucial it is to have the right mindset when kids play a supportive role. This is especially challenging for players, and their parents, who are used to being the key players on their pass teams.


Contact Info

Springs Soccer Club
Cypress Park
1301 Coral Springs Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33076

Phone: (954) 282-5215


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