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u/13's Finals- Even court time or Play to win?

I have a team of 12 girls; 3 goalers, 2 defenders and the rest centre court. We will make it into the finals series and as a result i have talked to the girls in an open discussion about what kind of stratergies they would like to use come finals. This included a vote on how we should field the team, even court time for all or play to win, fielding our best team based on training attendance and behavior at training, commitment, sportsmanship and how they are generally playing on the night. Only 2 of the 12 voted even court time and we had further discussion and clarification or question and everyone was sent home happy. However i have one Mother who i cannot please no matter how hard i try who is fighting this decision, her daughter complained yet voted play to win> I don;t know what i should do, i like the girls to learn to make decisions in a team setting by themselves and learn about the outcomes of such decisions but at the same time i don't want angry parent(s)! HELP!!

Maybe the mother's upset about the manner in which the decision was made, perhaps fearing her daughter was affected by peer pressure?

As far as I can see you've tried your absolute hardest to make a fair and democratic decision and the mother is being a little unreasonable - especially as at the age of 13 players should be old enough to understand that they can't always get an even amount of time on the court.

However, if you decided by a show of hands perhaps it would be fairer to have an annonymous vote - getting players to write "even court time" or "play to win" on scraps of paper and then placing their votes into a box which you can count up.

That way they won't be affected by what their friends think.

Sorry, forgot to mention it was confidential! But i agree with what you're saying, majority of the girls will be going up and age group next year ( to u/15's) and in a competitive club in a competitve league i thought that the idea of understanding that you're not always going to be one, particularly if commitment at training was low migth have been a good thing to learn - maybe it's just us? haha thanks for your help

No worries, yeh it sounds like you've done everything right so I wouldn't worry. With regards this girl's mum, you can't please everyone all the time...

Rose, I think some parents will never be happy.  You just have to believe in yourself that you did the right thing, which you have done.  I think it's good to introduce at this age that from now on in, there may be a playing seven and court time may not be fair - it's just a fact of life with competitve sport :-).  And I imagine the mother is the type that complains about everything but doesn't put her hand up to help ;-)

You are NOT on your own here!!! It happens in lots of clubs all over the place & in all different sports. I am also a netball coach of this age group & i am yet to find away to PLEASE the parents when i too have covered all bases & the girls are extemely happy.. I have been told that you put your coaches hat on to help the kids & teach them the best that you can, NOT to make parents happy. We as a group (as in all the kids & myself) have voted that come finals if the game is not close then changes will be made, if not the best 7 will start on the court & could stay that way if the game is there for the taking. Wishing you all the best.

Im afraid there is no easy answer to this question. I faced this exact position just recently. Had a great combination working well, up by 3 points and faced the dilemma of substituting players to give two girls some court time. I knew, this would be a big risk, so did the starting 7, but with family also "giving" you the eye, I had little choice but to put them on. Yes, we lost, and just couldn't crawl back. My girls are 15yrs-18yrs, and most of them want to win, and others just want to have a good game. At the end of the day, my role as their coach, is to motivate them to play, and if that means that we loose the season, so be it. Sport is not about winning, its about motivating kids to have a go, and do their best, and that doesn't always mean a win!. And as a team, we need to respect each other, give them a go, and walk away, win or loose, as a team knowing we all have done the very best to our abilities, including the coach:))))) 

I too am the coach of 12 year olds and have been for a few years. I always make it clear to parents that throughout the season I will be as fair as I can about substitutions as I can but when we hit semi finals that I will play to win. I do stress that it may not be the 'best players' on the court but rather the combinations that will work best against the teams we are facing. Parents are ususally accepting of this. I stress that all players will get some time on the court even if it's only a quarter. I stress that the girls have worked hard to get to this position and it is my job as the coach to help them to the reward of the best chance of a win in the finals... Even the parents of the weaker players usually accept this as they also don't want to lose in finals time...

I am of the opinion that you put your strongest team on the court. Play to win. You must have a session with the girls and parents and explain to all of them  that everybody will get a  quarter but in the end you will put the best combination out that will will. There is not only one player but 8 to 11 that forms a TEAM.


I know it's probably too late for this answer, but I think you have done the right thing by asking the girls.  I find it better to try and do both, put your not so talented subs on in the 1st & 2nd quarter and your best 7 in the 3rd and 4th quarters - they may catch them and everyone has participated in the final.  I have coached this age group and the u/15's and it gets more serious in the the older age group so save the "win" talk for when they get there.  As for the parents, ask them to put it in writing to the Club Committee!!!

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