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Playing Time & Building for More

“The battle of you versus you.”



I wanted to reach out and provide insight on an always delicate subject, playing time. Any concerns, frustrations or anything about it, let me know. We can discuss some things to help improve your child's situation.


An article by NFHS about Playing Time is a good one to read:


Playing time......Every game will be different with the idea of being competitive and the idea of giving the chance to meaningful minutes. I try my best to provide a balanced attack but sometimes this gets construed and winning (or being competitive) takes its course. Winning is definitely not everything but it does provide the team a great deal of confidence and a sense of pride. I truly believe in the team first even at the expense of less playing time for some. All players typically have a great chance to perform each weekend. However, they all have the same great chance to perform in practice. This in my eyes, is the most important part of all the basketball we will play. Practice is where I have the best chance to teach the game and teach the lessons. The games offer similar lessons but less teaching. Remember for us as a team, preparation is key!


The discussion of playing time amongst coach and parent is something that we choose to remove from conversation. This conversation always includes other players and I believe that other teammates should not be included into conversation. I am always working to figure stronger ways to improve everyone’s chances of playing time.


I know at times being a parent supporting your child within team sports is not always easy. I'm asking that you always support your child and us as a team. I truly believe it's in their best interest to accept the playing time provided. This does NOT give me the right to never ever play your child. This is never and will never be my intentions as your child's coach within this program. I do think about each kid and the time they play. I do feel bad and stress when kids don't play. Do your best to help the entire situation out. Encourage your child to continue to work at it. Explain to them that it's about the team, the process, the journey, stepping up when it's your time (even if it is a little bit of time), building strong character, being resilient and so many others as those are just a handful that are important. Preach to them to put in extra work. But also preach to them that struggle, mistakes and failure is all part of the process. And yes, that at times could mean very little playing time.


We are all in this battle whether its your child playing team sports or yourself in your workplace. We all have our place, our role and the hope is to understand your role. Roles can and will change over the course of your child growing up, maturing, knowledge of the game, increasing their skill level, surpassing others work ethic and being able to implement those new found skills against an opponent. So many things weigh in on playing time and if you find your child not playing meaningful minutes, my initial thought is always how can we improve this.


Players and also parents who are unhappy with playing time should ask the following questions:

  • Do I use my time wisely outside of normal practice time and work on my negatives?

  • Do I know what to work on in order to help increase my chances of a larger role?

  • Do I give 100% effort 100% of the time?

  • Do I bring effort and positive energy to practice every day?

  • Do I show positive body language?

  • Do I support my teammates and show it?

  • Do I ask questions?

  • Do I show up in the offseason?

  • Do I defend well and rebound well?

  • Do I catch and pass well?

  • Am I developing and increasing my speed and quickness?

  • Am I improving your footwork and body control for agility?


***All of the above questions are great ways to start increasing your chances of a larger role.

There are very few things you have in your control and very few things you are able to improve right away. Here is a list of things (we consider these intangibles of the game) you can do immediately to give yourself more opportunity. Most of these are more toughness and effort situations. Some do require a sense of the game but (in my opinion) all should be able to learn quickly.

  • Extra Effort: Extra effort plays. Find loose balls, deflections, offensive rebounding and hustle plays like diving for loose balls.

  • Conditioning: Sprint the floor. Immediate action to sprint up and down the floor while others are jogging. 

  • Communication: Extra communication that is loud, clear, and precise.

  • Offense #1: Quick decisions to pass are usually good ones. Making immediate passes on offense that fit within the structure of our game plan. We are a primarily motion offensive team so quick decisions are usually good ones. However, you are likely to miss opportunities to score or facilitate. Less dribbling and more passing.

  • Offense #2: The ball is in your hands very little on offense, what else are you doing to help yourself and your team out? Sprinting the floor efficiently, setting great screens, moving the ball, limiting your mistakes from an execution standpoint, and approaching the ball with great and efficient speed. 

  • Defense #1: Sprinting back on defense on opposing teams defensive rebounds, extra communication that is loud, clear and precise, and active hands which means they are always up and or out shadowing the ball or shadowing the passing lane.

  • Defense #2: Being aggressive defensively but able to stay in front and or catch back up, being in defensive help by closing gaps, deny passing lanes, switching above the screen, and blocking out all the time.


Do your best to not get discouraged. If you as a parent are discouraged and show and tell it, you can bet that your child will also show his/her discouragement. Instead, please use encouragement and show them you care by supporting them. Seek out the answers to the questions and continue to fight the battle. It’s not you versus the other players. It is you versus you. 


I truly believe in all players having a role on the team. And that role is to play with confidence, be confident in all you do and you will learn and play over the course of the season. As the kids get older and graduate into high school sports, if they’re constantly battling for equal playing time or the most playing time - high school aged sports may not be for them. My best advice is to accept your role and over achieve in your role. Largely increase all of the above in the offseason. Team sports at times can be a difficult situation if you are not allowing the entire aspect of team sports to live.


A very good book to read:

"Bench Rules": Guide to Success On and Off the Bench


Goals of the Academy:

  • Provide an environment that is dedicated to development and encourages personal growth. Teach!

  • Provide options that can cater to individuals. Self motivation!

  • Allow communication to provide constant feedback and involvement. Communicate!

  • Our work ethic becomes contagious and allows everyone to excel. Effort!

  • Provide an atmosphere that participants choose to be a part of because its fun. Joy!


I'm here to help and support your child's growth. I wanted to clarify this so that we can all help each other out and not let anything get to us. The last thing I want from anyone within our team, is to leave because of frustration.


I really appreciate your support!




Coach Jonathan Canalin

(510) 863-1051

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