The manager is only giving the subs 10-15 minutes – is this acceptable?

Ask Dave

I help coach an Under-12s team playing 9v9 (One manager, 2 coaches) We have a squad of 13 players. The manager wants to involve all the players in the games and I agree with him. However another coach believes that they should only get a couple of minutes at the end.

If it was up to me all the players would get equal time but the manager tends to give them 10 to 15 minutes.

My son is one of the subs and to be honest while I’d like him to get more time am grateful he gets anytime at all.

Under the other coaches wishes he’d possibly be lucky to get 2 minutes. This coach also has some of the parents thinking the same way.

What are your thoughts on football development verses winning games? And how can myself and the manager, change the views of the third coach and parents?

The manager is only giving the subs 10-15 minutes – is this acceptable?


Dave says

I’m very much pro player development at the expense of results – because in my experience player development in the end results in a better squad and ultimately a better team with more chance of winning. I admit that by playing the strongest 9 you will initially have a lot of success and get plenty of pats on the back from the parents of the children that are playing but you are building up a whole heap of trouble with the parents of the players who do not play.

I always state right at the beginning of the season that every parent pays the same for their child to be at the club so every child will be developed to the best of my ability and that means playing time on the pitch. In the long run this is always better for the team – if say your son is suddenly thrown into a match because players are ill or away and he has only played 10 to 15 minutes on average his concentration and therefore his match fitness will not be up to the test and that is not fair on him. He needs to experience playing full games right through the season – and be playing half a game for the rest of the season.

Experience of coming off the bench into a game that is in full flow is also something all players should be used to so in future they can come on and be up to speed – if say the team is 1-0 down with 10 minutes to play. Your ‘star’ striker is on the bench. He needs to be able to take in what he has seen when watching the game then be at 100% playing speed to come on and change the game.

You will also find that some of the players who were initially only getting off the bench for a few minutes are in fact great players who have not had the opportunity to develop and gain the confidence and show off their skills on the pitch. They should also play every position on the pitch so that you are developing their football brain as well as general skills.

I massively understand the pressures on coaches to play certain players and play them in certain positions. So I can understand the pressures of playing time, but this is a corner you must argue for the benefit of all the players, the team and parents.

The teams that sit the same subs on the bench every week will start with a bang but by the end of the season they will be the ones surprised at how quickly your team has progressed.

I hope this has been of some use to you, it is something I am very passionate about so if you need anything else let me know and I will try to help.

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