Parents of youth players should not put up with short-bench policies

Playing a game with a “short bench” will forever be debated as it’s a complicated issue. There are many variables before determining if its right or wrong. For example, what level is the team? What kind of game is it? What did the coach say before the season about it? has a good write-up about it and brings up some really interesting points.
From the website:

I am often told that the parents and players were told by the coach at the beginning of the season that this might occur and that everybody agreed to it. This is self-serving for the coach because when would a parent or player speak up against a policy like this? After all, every parent and player thinks it will be the other kids who sit out. It is not until it occurs to them that the reality sinks in. By the time it happens, it is too late to object. The parents of the players who are getting the extra ice time are suddenly in favor of the short bench and will not speak up.

I know that there are two schools of thought about this. The first is that winning is the salve that heals all wounds. A player relegated to the bench during the championship run should be happy to be along for the ride. The second is that we play all season together as a team and as a team we will finish by playing together. The reality is that the players relegated to the bench simply get bored and lose interest. Who would blame them?

At the higher levels of hockey where it is a business and winning actually affects players and coach’s careers, player utilization is accepted by the participants. Players are delegated certain roles and they need to fulfill those expectations. In youth hockey, winning feels good but there are little other benefits other than adult ego gratification.

I believe that in youth hockey there is no place for the short bench. A good coach can manage the players so that all of the skaters participate in the game. A good coach will spend extra time with the weaker players throughout the season to improve their skills. A coach who starts the season by talking about skill development, teaching, self esteem and having fun would not break his word by shortening the bench. The short bench is the easy way out for a coach who has not prepared his team properly.

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