Playing time and performance benefits

Games frequently are compared to academic tests, and practices to classroom teaching. In this analogy, practices are viewed as the learning experiences, and games as the performance experience. One aspect of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is that she tests her children frequently. testing is not just an evaluative task, but a learning task.

I argued something similar in a post where I wrote that small talent discrepancies can grow during the season if the good players play all or a majority of the minutes. I believe that playing everyone can increase the competitiveness of all practices because all players continue to improve and develop, rather than only the good players developing throughout the season.

A recent study confirmed these differences in physiological tests. In a study titled “Performance Changes in NCAA Division I Women Basketball Players During a Competitive Season: Starters vs. Non-Starters” published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning, Gonzalez et al. (2012) found significant improvements in vertical jump performance and average squat power  in starters compared to non-starters.

Whether the improvements in strength and power occur through the playing time, through different treatment by coaches or strength coaches, by increased motivation and/or work ethic or another mechanism, starting and playing time play a role in improvements. If the goal is to enhance all players’ skill level, giving every player playing time is essential.

By Brian McCormick, M.S.S., PES
Coach/Clinician, Brian McCormick Basketball
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League

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