“All players will play in a game. Playing time will depend on the team’s rules and goals”
As this policy is somewhat general in nature, the following expanded guidance is provided for coaches. All performance related playing time rules shall reflect the intent of the following, however discipline* related playing time rules are exempt from this policy. Further, as MBA/BNS controls playing time in divisions Mini and below by league rule, the following guidance is only applicable to Bantam and above.
Competitive (Rep) Teams
(normally Div 1 or 2, but could be placed in lower divisions by MBA. Our definition of “competitive” is a team that players have tried out and been “cut” from).
All players should normally receive meaningful playing time in each half of each game.
- “Token” playing time in the dying minutes of a half is not meaningful. Coaches should normally enter all players by mid 2nd Quarter;
- No coach would contend with the premise that players need game experience to improve. There are certain things that practice or scrimmages just will not improve upon. Excessive playing time allocated to “starters” naturally affects the minutes otherwise available across the board, and thus overall player development. Coaches therefore need to monitor their ongoing playing time allocation to “starters” with this in mind, and adjust their allocations when practical, such as games where the outcome is no longer in doubt or the result unimportant;
- “Exhibition” games are an extension of practice and primarily developmental in nature,playing time should therefore be as equal as possible; and,
- Tournaments that require overnight travel/hotel stays represent a significant financial and time commitment for parents. Playing time, at least during the round robin portion of such events, should respect that investment.
Recreational (Rec) Teams
(teams with rosters that have been established through the “equal balance” format and therefore no player has actually been “cut” from)
Recreational teams must strive for equal playing time across the season. To be clear, “equal” means the same number of minutes are played by each player in each game to the maximum extent under the coaches control. Unavoidable inequities based on the flow of play in one game must be addressed in the following game.
* Discipline (not performance) related playing time decisions means a reduction in playing time directly related to a breach of team rules, as outlined by the coach, regarding behavior such as but not limited to:
- a player continually missing and/or being late for practice and/or games
- a player being disrespectful to the coach or team-mates in practices or games
- a player not making an honest effort in practice and/or games