October 5, 2012

High School Playing Time


My daughter is a Senior on the Varsity team with very little play time; out of 4 matches yesterday she was subbed only twice.  This coach is not playing her defenders, she is using the same 6 players for front and back row; she also sits out the Libero.  

I find this very painful to watch and I am giving my daughter a very hard time about it, because I feel she should be rotated in and the other Coach last year did not play her at all.  

If we talk to the coach at this school she will see not court time at all.  What can I do to find a happy common ground here.  


I want to warn you; you will not enjoy my reply..........

There is nothing you can do, and to "give your daughter a very hard time about it" will only make the situation worse for your VolleyBaby.  There is no "common ground" because the high school coach will do what they want, and since this is not Club Volleyball, you have no recourse.  I surmise that you are making the volleyball day miserable for yourself and your daughter by trying to control a situation for which you have no control over.  The high school  coach is going to do what the high school coach is going to do.

The coach seems to be an old school coach - back in the day's of our youth and gas being a $1.00 a gallon, volleyball coaches rarely subbed; the six players played all rotations, with the occasional horrid ball control MB coming out back row.  The Libero was not anywhere to found in the volleyball dictionary, and the defensive specialist was some short player who could not hit at all but the coach liked for some reason, so they got some random playing time.

A strength of this system is that if you have six rotations of players with ball control and attacking, it allows for a very good rhythm during games - Players don't get warm, then get cold, come in and go out.  The downside is that this limits the number of players who play each game.

Don't judge the talents of your daughter or internalize this situation, because of the system which the High School coach is using. It is the system, and if the coach is winning with the system and treats their players with respect (which is different than playing time or a player/parents being happy, then it is a good system.  If the coach was using a traditional 6-2 system (where the setters also hit), then there would be Opposite players which would be upset and small setters would be upset. 

You cannot get mad at the coach or give your daughter grief because the coach uses a specific system; it is just volleyball c'est la vie.  I have two suggestions:

1.  Emphasize to your daughter the importance of practice and using those touches in practice to prepare for the few opportunities of playing time; prepare to succeed.  Court time is precious, so she needs to be sharp each time she gets on the court.  Also, high school practice will prepare her for club season.

2.  Play Club Volleyball.  Club has become the dominant vehicle for volleyball; skill development and collegiate opportunities.  Be wise about how you select your club volleyball team.  Ask specific questions about the systems they use, how my liberos/DS's will be on each team, how many tournaments they play a year, etc.

My answer may not have been what you wanted to hear, but maybe it can help you manage this situation for a healthier outlook.

Coach Matt Sonnichsen

1 comment:

  1. Our schools our run by the government, so therefore, coaches are political and act like dictators, just like our government. The last comment is correct - there is nothing you can do. If your daughter has better stats, I would send letters to the atheltic director and/or the state sports association. Why not, what are they going to do - not play your daughter? They are already doing that. Ruffle some feathers, these coaches need some accountablity. People join a team to play - not sit the bench. NO one likes to sit the bench, and if they tell you it builds character, they are lying. If the coach doesn't know how to teach a player to improve or motivate them to be more aggressive in order to make them a valuable player, they are not a very good coach and I consider them cruel. I'd rather be cut from a team than not play. I am not talking about everything being "equal". I am all for competition. But that is just it - your daughter wants to be a part of a "team" to kick the other team's butt. Not feel like crap every single game because she is not apart of it - and then eventually quits the sport all together (that's the weeding out system.) If more schools had more teams (rather than 6 players for a school of 500 enrolled) at different levels at play, and encouraged more participation, rather than discouraging it; we would see a lot less apathy, rebellion and depression in the schools. Our schools keep growing, but team size remains the same. And cost is an excuse - if they wanted more teams, they could. They don't need the best and most expensive uniforms....Anyway, my daughter plays volleyball too - and I fight for her everyway I can. I tick off coaches and parents (in a nice sorta way) - but hey, she gets playing time.


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