How athletes can affect starting positions and playing time


Samantha LaMont

Taylorsville High Warriors going against Herriman High on October 2, 2018 at a home game. Each athlete was specifically chosen for that game.

Brooklyn Poole, Reporter

When playing a team sport, players are not guaranteed a spot on the starting roster. There are many factors that determine that.

A sophomore on the soccer team, Ben Williams says, “[…] you have to have good chemistry with your teammates to be a good team, […] same goes for with your coach, you have to be on good terms with him.”

Many student-athletes agree that relationships between teammates, players, and coaches will always affect the team’s experience, the level they play at, how far they get, and the ability to handle pressure situations.

The most important factor is that the coach handles their relationships in a way that doesn’t negatively affect any specific players.

Head coach of the boys’ basketball team and girls’ softball team, Jace Hymas says, “[…] coaches have feelings too. We learn to trust some players more than others. Trust comes from many variables including a personal relationship with players. I will say that most coaches, including myself, try very hard not to put personal feelings above the good of the team.”

Coaches choose who starts every game, some have different methods than others. Hymas also says the most important thing to him when deciding who deserves to play is, “Skill, attitude, work ethic, coachability.”

However, most student-athletes interviewed claimed to have had previous coaches that do things differently. Including choosing favorites or giving “special treatment” to certain players.

Some reasons behind this are obvious. Others, not so much. “Far too many of these coaches are either parents of players, poorly trained, […]  limited in their ability to work with adolescents, lack experience and knowledge of their sport or all of the above”, says the Competitive Edge website, “[…] the unfair coach inadvertently teaches his athletes that they can […] give a half-hearted effort and if you’re a favorite, you can still get privileges and playing time. By doing this, the unfair coach teaches his team that who you know is far more important than who you are, how hard you work and […] conduct yourself.”

It’s important that a coach knows the game and is good at working their players. If they don’t have these things, it’s likely that they tend to favoritize.

The Team Snap website published other instances of favoritism, including: “winning is everything”, the parent won’t pay unless their kid gets the most PT, or a family member of the coach’s is on the team.

All coaches are different, some better than others. “I’ve been on teams where coaches have their favorite,” Senior softball player Jayde Shaw said. “It’s those situations where the coach’s favorite [gets away] with things and [doesn’t pull] their weight, [yet] still get to start and play the next day.”

But not all coaches are like this. Shaw said, “On my competitive team […] if you miss a practice, if you’re late, and if you have a bad attitude, you don’t play.”

If someone feels their coach treats them unfairly, the best thing to do is keep up their hard work. That always plays a factor in playing time. If this doesn’t work, they should always support the rest of their team. Part of any sport is earning a position, but also supporting their team in their accomplishments.

Hymas’ advice to players who feel they deserve more playing time is, “Talk to the coaches. Ask them what you need to work on and […] if you can play a different position if the one in front of you is not [getting] vacated any time soon. Work hard all the time. [Coaches notice] hustle and effort. Be coachable. Be patient.”