We're expecting to have a good sized bench for most matches this season so we thought you might like to know how we plan on using them.
Read how we plan to make the most of this advantage and manage player expectations of playing time.
The Numbers Advantage
The 2018 Bishops Cleeve Annual Tournament showed us how physically demanding an u7 football match can be. There were numerous times when I was glad we had fresh players on the bench because the look on a players face told me they needed a breather.
Playing football when your lungs are screaming increases the chances you'll make a dangerous tackle which leads to injury. It also makes it harder to get into areas which support team mates and open opportunities.
By rolling the subs regularly and always having fresh legs on the bench the boys will be able to give everything knowing, a rest is available any time they want it.
Equal Playing Time
The idea of offering equal playing time is great in concept but very hard to manage in reality. This is mostly down to the fact making subs during play is near impossible thanks to their attention being on the football, not the coach.
Subs will typically be made after a goal or before a throw in or goal kick.
Playing time will not be recorded but we will be taking better check of how many times each player has been subbed in a match, when there are 3 or more subs.
There should be absolutely do difference between playing time based on ability, age, who's son is who and it's important that you let us know if you think we've got this wrong at any time.
The Effects of Fitness and Work Rate on Playing Time
There are times when I can visually see that a player is unable to run as much as they'd like in which case I'll sub them to recover.
Fitter players usually run more so unless they're slacking off are actually more likely to be subbed based on fatigue than a less fit player who doesn't run as much.
There's nothing harder than having to tell a lad "I'll get you on soon" in reply to the inevitable question "when can I go on?".
When we have three or more subs players are typically required to wait much longer than the time it takes for their little lungs to recover.
My expectation is that if these lads get time on the ball, score more goals and feel like they've worked hard then their expectations will be met even if they spent 3-6 minutes less on the field due to 3 or more subs in the team.
In order to meet the lad's expectations, reduce fatigue and improve overall performance we'll be encouraging the lads to play a fast game. One which means a lot of running, quick throw ins and goal kicks.
The more we play this way the fitter our lads will get and the better they'll feel about the contribution they've made to each match.