Play Time Philosophy

Like clockwork, around the late February period of every season, the playtime concerns become more of a reality. A solid two months of practice have established impressions of players to each other, coaches, and directors. There have been enough tournaments to see some quality play of girls in various pressure and non-pressure moments. Hence it’s a good time to overview our playtime expectations and how it’s all determined. There will always be nuances and variations at times, but this is the rough expectation of our staff on how to handle it.

  1. Practices
  2. Like many clubs and programs say, practice is where you earn your playtime. That comes from attending practices consistently and giving forward great effort. It’s one thing to show up, but another to give maximum effort at practice. We are never looking for perfect skills, but rather consistency in hustle, coachability (application of feedback), and teammate interactions. Our practices are quick but require a lot of mental energy to do the little things. We have countless accountability policies, ball control drills, and team co-op drills that show skills and require a high degree of focus/work to accomplish. Navigating through these pieces shows coaches who is committed to getting better versus the players looking to simply play it out or do more “fun” drills. Playtime is consistently reevaluated throughout the season. A system culture is built top-down but anchored out by the players at the end of the day.
  3. Play To Win…
  4. We are a play-to-win club. This means that the best players towards the end of the tournament will play more. The caveat to this is what bracket are we playing for. In larger tournaments Gold, Silver, and Bronze brackets will all be skewed in playtime. Anything under that or smaller tournaments that aren’t Gold bracket play, might and likely will see more balanced playtime chances. A line-up might also be clicking in a second set so that the line-up stays the same for the third set. The majority of how girls get to play longer even if they are struggling is by showing the consistency of skills and effort level in practice. We might pull a player in a tight game because they don’t demonstrate in practice the will to fight for plays, effort in workouts, or attitude, and the trust is built with someone else.
  5. National vs. Regional
  6. Our national teams will come with a higher degree of accountability on all items mentioned above versus our regional teams. While we have the highest expectations for all our teams, the national teams certainly do carry additional weight to the team first. The regional and youngest teams will always see more chances for better playtime distribution. It won’t always be fair, and there is a lot of value in that as a part of a team. But 12-Red versus 17-Elite will see different balances in getting all players opportunities to play.
  7. Season Trajectory
  8. The final piece is how it will change throughout the season. In the beginning months, December – February, playtime will be way more balanced than what it will be from March-May. We provide chances to build trust, showcase skills, and develop in games early in the season. Then once June hits, the playtime will change again for bigger matches, especially at nationals. Big IF on those changes. Certain players might simply stop showing consistency, attitude, attendance, and all the other factors mentioned above to warrant more change.