High school basketball playing time and substitutions

by John

Girls Basketball Players

Girls Basketball Players

What are the general rules of substitution on a sophomore basketball team?


Usually they play the top 8 players right?

Our basketball coach plays the top five players pretty much the whole game. The 6,7, 8th players get from 40 seconds to maybe one of them 1/2 of a quarter.

And the bottom 5 girls no time. Seriously the top 5 are tired, you can see it.

And yes we are winning and sometimes by a very wide margin.

You can tell the girls are discouraged and frustrated.

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Dec 29, 2012
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Basketball subs. Why so many players on your team?
by: Anonymous

I disagree with you. Do you really keep players on the team just to sit on the bench? What is the purpose of that? Is it to offset the costs for the other parents? I realize that basketball is has very limited opportunities but why roster so many? If you have 5 starters and rotate in say 3 then why do you need 12 to 15 kids? And do you really keep them if they are not "good"? These kids could be playing in another lequge or pursuing other activities. Sounds like a bait and switch. Do the parents agree with this? Are they told up front that there kid is not good and will be a bench warmer? As a parent of 2 athletes I have seen this happen. Sometimes kids do sit on the bench and then they tend to do worse as the season goes on because so much time is spent developing the great players and the good players who had potential get worse because they don't get the time to be developed. They al;so begin to lose confidence. I understand developing the best players but Why not just roster the best 8 or 9? Don't get why you would need the others.

Jan 22, 2011
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Another Story from the Bench
by: Anonymous

I have been so frustrated over this same issue. My son gets the least amount of playing time and it doesn’t matter if we’re losing or winning by a wide margin. He usually never gets in the game, and if he does, then it’s only for approximately 30 seconds; not enough time to do anything.

My son is a hard worker: arrives at every practice 30 minutes before practice begins, gets good grades, is very respectful and has never been in trouble. He’s arguably the best free-throw shooter on the JV team, has a good 3-point shot, and plays decent defense. He finally asked the coach why he’s not getting any playing time. The coach said it’s his ball-handling and he needs to gain weight. My son is 6’0” and 145 lbs. So, my son being the kid that he is has started going to the local YMCA for strength training, is constantly working on his dribbling, and has me buying high-calorie supplements. He just wants to play so he takes what the coach says to heart and is willing to put the extra time and effort into improving his game.

The unfortunate thing is that I don’t think he’ll still be able to get in the game. It’s not that the other kids on the team are so much better. With the exception of one or two kids, the other eight players are basically at the same skill level as my son. I don’t know what the “politics” are or what the reasoning is to bench certain kids, but it’s very upsetting.

I feel awful for him, but I am extremely proud of how he’s handling it. It’s unfortunate that the coach doesn’t see past the five kids that he constantly plays. My greatest fear is that he gives up. I don’t think he will, but I no longer go to the JV basketball games. I hate seeing my son so depressed.

Jan 28, 2010
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Same Question As A Parent
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem, watching my son sit on the bench most of every JV basketball game. He goes to every single practice, is respectful and works hard. He gets the least amount of playing time on a basketball team that only has 9 players total.

I feel awful for him as he sits through most games. When he does get to go in, he is tight and awkward as his amount of playing time is so limited. I realize it's only a game.

I realize it's not like little league when everyone gets the same amount of time. But I also realize that this is a time for development and learning. He gets no coaching or chances to succeed or get better. It makes me angry to watch and to continue to make sure he's at every single practice, even on weekends and holidays. I don't understand what is in the coach's head.

And of course, my son will not hear of me talking to the coach about it. My bottom line is, I thought at this age and at this level, they should be getting more coaching and training and opportunity so when (if) they get to the Varsity level, they have more skill. Is it all politics?????

Jan 18, 2009
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Substituion
by: Anonymous

This is a tough question to answer but being a basketball coach it really depends on the quality of player left on the bench. The real world does not give everyone equal opportunity.

If the best players are truly the best and are playing - they should account for the vast majority of time. If a basketball player siting on the bench has equal talent then that is a different issue. They should be substituted in the game and various times during the entire game.

Parents need to get over the fact that everyone needs to play equally because that is not how things work in the real world. I have had players that were kept because I needed 12 to 15 players not because they were "great" or even "good". There is not enough information in the original post to make a valid assessment.

Talk to the basketball coach but remember they are the coach - unless they tell you how to parent - don't tell them how to coach.

Feb 09, 2008
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No specific rules on this...
by: Joe Waters - webmaster

Hey John,

Substitutions at the high school level are typically the basketball coach's decision.

There aren't any set high school rules that state the coach has to play each player so many minutes.

Having said that, most coaches try to get every player on their team at least some playing time in each game. This is usually done by having a set rotation system in place that puts players in at certain times of the game.

Unfortunately, many coaches only play 5 - 8 players...leaving the other ones out.

At the JV level, players need to play in order to develop their basketball skills and develop for the Varsity level. This helps build a strong, cohesive team.

When basketball coaches neglect to do this, they are building teams that rely on the top 5 or 6 players. The subs or "bench players" don't get a chance to be a part of the team. In the long run, this weakens the team.

My advice to you would be to talk to the coach. Let him know you, the parents and players aren't happy with this situation. If he's an understanding coach - he'll listen to your suggestion. If not, maybe he's not the best coach for this position.

Best of luck!


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