Factors that Increase Playing Time
Posted by Eric Davis on Jan 24th 2021
(It’s not Just Talent)
Sometimes it's hard to understand why certain players get more playing time than others. It doesn't always seem to correlate with who is more talented. So, we wonder what factors coaches consider when deciding positions and playing time.
The truth is that there's a lot more to baseball then sheer talent. Coaches look for someone who is willing to work hard, take feedback, and have a good attitude every day. These players provide a more consistent level of play and make baseball more pleasant for their coaches and teammates.
One of the biggest factors in play time is going be your attitude. If you throw a fit every time something goes wrong, are rude to other players, or are generally negative, you are less likely to get a lot of play time. This is because this kind of behavior brings everyone else down.
It doesn't matter how good you are if you drag the rest of the team down with your bad attitude. A coach would rather put in a less talented player who brings up the rest of the team with their work ethic and positive attitude.
Learn from their Mistakes
Be someone who can learn from their mistakes. Acknowledge, learn from, and work on improving any mistakes and you will be a more valuable player than the rest. This is how growth and improvement happen; talents will only carry you so far without also working on improving your weaknesses.
Great baseball players respect their coaches. When the coach has feedback to give, or is having a pregame meeting, give them your full attention. This shows that you are eager to be there and are grateful for the experience of your coach. Again, those who listen and show respect are more likely to grow as players than those who goof off during these important times.
This is another huge area for deciding line up and play time. Everyone has a role that they want to be in, but sometimes that isn't going to happen. If you can't accept the role that you are given, be grateful for the opportunity, and give it your all, you will never be advanced to the position that you want. No one gets where they want to be by complaining. They get there by hard work, dedication, and a willingness to put in the time.
Support your teammates
Baseball is a team sport and this means that you need to be supportive of your teammates. Any ridicule, teasing, or berating of another player on the team is going to result in negative reactions from the coach. This type of behavior is completely unacceptable; dragging down one player is dragging down the whole team. It speaks more of the player who has negative things to say, who they are, and their value, than it says about the player being teased.
Be a good sport
Sometimes you lose, and that's not fun for anyone. But, being a sore loser is not an appropriate response. Show that you can handle winning and losing with composure. This is a game; some teams are going to beat you, and that's ok. What is not ok is being dramatic, throwing things, or getting mad and blaming others. Take a loss as something to learn from, this will show that you are capable of managing your emotions and growing through struggle.
This is another really basic thing to do, but many players will not put in the extra work required. A player who shows up and gives their best from warm up cool down is going catch the eye of the coach. This will earn them a better position with more time. Nothing beats someone who is willing to put in hard work, stay focused, and take it seriously. The coach after all, is putting in a lot of time and effort; they want to see the same from their players.
Communication is important in all aspects of life; in baseball the team environment means that it's even more important to communicate well. This communication needs to be positive and uplifting. After a game, discuss anything that went wrong, why it went wrong, and how you can avoid that in the future. Players who are willing to do their own work to improve are more valuable than those who wait for someone else to do the work for them.
Show up on time, fulfill the responsibilities of your role, and follow through on your commitments. These again show that you are committed and are willing to put in the effort needed to be a good team member. Be someone that is reliable, and someone that your coach knows they can count on. This means you are the one that he will turn to when he needs something. And, as you prove that you're capable of following through, your role will increase.
Putting in work on becoming a good teammate, never giving up, and having a good attitude are all things that you can do to improve your position and play time. Some of these simple things that have little to do with actual talent, are what coaches look for when deciding who they want on their team, and who they want to give more responsibility to. So, don't count yourself out, just work a little harder and you will be rewarded.
What are your thoughts? Hit me up in the comments and let me know if you want me to write about other subjects.