Daily Archives: August 4, 2009

The quiet wheel gets the shaft

Heard this one from a friend the other day. His daughter was playing on a travel team this year, and despite her good performance she didn’t seem to be getting a lot of playing time. I don’t think this is the case of a father not evaluating his daughter’s capabilities fairly, because if anything he tends to be tough on her.

Anyway, as a former coach himself he didn’t want to cause any problems. But after a season of less than optimal playing time, particularly at her preferred position, he decided to ask the coach what his daughter needed to work on to increase her playing time. The coach’s response was that he thought she was a very good player, maybe the best at that position, but the other girl who plays it (and/or her father) would cause a lot of problems if he cut her playing time. Since my friend never complained it was easier for the coach to sit his daughter instead.

I can understand it in a way. No coach wants to put up with a lot of grief from parents so it’s tempting to take the easy way out. But it’s still wrong. All you’re doing by going that route is rewarding (and encouraging) bad behavior. Yes, the squeaky wheel often tends to get the grease. But in so doing you’re encouraging the players (and parents) you really want to go elsewhere.

As difficult as it can be in the short term, it’s important to act with integrity to support the long term. There are lots of criteria you can use to determine playing time — best nine players, even playing time, development of players at a position, etc. Who would complain the most if they don’t get their way shouldn’t be on the list.

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