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Emily Cohen
Emily Cohen
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Do Players On High School Varsity Deserve At Least Some Playing Time?

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I'm writing this blog under the protestations of my 15-year-old son. He would prefer that I don't write this at all, or that I write it anonymously, so that he doesn't suffer the playing-time repercussions from his coach, but it can't get any worse than it is. And, frankly, I will be completely quiet if someone - anyone - can explain to me the benefits - to the coaching staff, the team record, AND the kids - of having an entire group of players (say, 5 or 6) ride the bench the entire season and see no playing time.

Granted, I'm a sports mom. But I'm not writing this blog as my son's mom. I writing it as the mom of all those players selected to a high-level team, in this case a high school varsity baseball team, who never see playing time. Even when the score is 16-0. Or when the score is 9-2, as it was tonight.

I don't understand the benefit of selecting these kids - with a lot of anticipation and hope - only to have them ride the bench, even in mercy rule situations. No subs for any games. Why not just leave them at JV as starters? They'd get their reps in real games. The JV team would be stronger. What's better than that?

I've seen one or two of these bench players get a spot at-bat, after not facing live pitching for weeks. Surprise! He whiffs. The coach is validated ('that player is not varsity-caliber') and the player is relegated to the bench again.  What is the point? Of COURSE he's going to whiff! But is that really your goal, as a coach, to prove yourself right that the player is only bench-worthy?

Why not use your subs, let them get their playing time when you're in a mercy-rule situation, and let them HELP the team when the chips are down? Isn't that a better overall plan for everyone?

If I'm wrong, please tell me. I want to know. If you have a valid argument for selecting talented kids to the Varsity team and making them ride the bench instead of playing, please let me know. I want to hear it.