Marshfield has several underclassmen playing varsity sports this year, some of whom are taking spots from the upperclassmen. Coaches are faced with a tough decision: play athletes who have put time into the program and are more experienced or play the more skillful athletes. Playing underclassmen is a huge risk. Some upperclassmen will choose to simply quit instead of fighting for their spot. Obviously, the coaches do not want the players to leave, but some of the older players think their time in the program should be honored with playing time.
Younger athletes who are more skillful than the upperclassmen of the program have either put more time into the sport up until this point, or they are just naturally talented at the sport. However, they do not have as much varsity experience as upperclassmen. Also, the seniors who still play may view the coach’s decision as preparing for next year and not caring as much about the current year. The seniors have to understand that most coaches will play the athletes who give the team the best chance to win.
Older experienced athletes have had more time to learn the coach’s terminology and how the team’s strategies work. The coaches can refer to a past event for a game time adjustment, making it easier on the player and coach. Some upperclassmen, however, expect to be handed playing time without working hard for the spot, though spots on varsity are always competitive. The thought that someone deserves a spot is ridiculous.
The athletes who give the team the best chance to win should play. There are very few positions in any sport where experience is more valuable than skill. Most athletes are not born with natural skill for a sport; many have to work hard when they are younger to later obtain the skill. In the majority of sports, such as football, volleyball, basketball and baseball, skill is more important than experience. Coaches need to play the athlete best fit for the position.
Underclassmen who bring skill to a team make everybody more competitive, making the team better overall. Whether the upperclassmen like it or not, playing time is not just handed out. It is earned through hard work. If players are not willing to work hard, they should not expect to get much playing time.