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March 10, 2016

When a Nine-Year-Old Kid Gets No Playing Time

When a Nine-Year-Old Kid Gets No Playing Time

THROWBACK THURSDAY – A nine-year-old twin brother (third grade) ended up in my advanced workout last night as a make-up session. I haven’t seen him since the fall. He opted to do another program because he made their “A” team while his brother chose our program. Early in the workout, I saw the player – a lefty — shooting right hand lay-ups with his left hand. I said, “What’s going on here? I saw you do it properly in the fall, but you’re doing it the wrong way in games because you want to make it more than you want to do it right.”

“I’m not playing in games,” he said.


“I don’t play.”

“They don’t play you at all?”

Poor kid shook his head.

“You’re nine years old.”

His face reddened and he shrugged.

In the meantime, his twin has been playing and having a great time all year in our 10U four-on-four league and tournament.

“I’m coming back to Mo’ Motion,” he told me.

“Good. But FYI that means you must shoot right-hand layups with your right hand even when I am not around. Got it?”

He nodded and smiled. It felt good to have someone on his case.

Today’s throwback is a wish that we could throw it all back to when we were not picking second and third grade traveling teams. Back to when we were not benching a third grade kid all year.

Why coaches aren’t being called out on this by their leader or by other parents is beyond me. But his parents—both under 5’7”)—signed him up for a program where I told them for sure there would be a limited shelf life. Their check would clear, and then other more coordinated, aggressive and genetically gifted kids would be the first to receive playing time. The program’s goal is to rebuild its program. I told mom of the risk they were taking, but never did I think the program would give him no life at all; no chance of being a happy nine-year old kid who just wants to hoop.