I’ve never been a proponent of a child playing on two different teams in the same season, regardless if it’s the same sport or two different ones.
Why? It’s almost impossible for there not to be a conflict at some point during the season. It might be both teams practicing or playing at the same time, or it might be a game scheduled for one team at the same time as a practice is for the other. Regardless of the situation, it means one team won’t have a player, and that often impacts practice plans or game strategies. In some cases, a missing player can even influence the outcome of a game or even the season.
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If your child is going to play on two teams, it is vital you communicate with both coaches, so everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises.
Practice and game schedules are usually set before the season even begins so everyone should know what the conflicts are going to be. It is important the parents and the player agree what will take priority when there are conflicts. It might be games will always take precedence over practices, or maybe the importance of the game will dictate if a practice is worth missing. For instance, an important practice before a big game for one team might take precedence over playing in “just another game” for the other. If several practices conflict throughout the season, does the player alternate which they attend, or always attend the same team’s practice whenever there is a conflict? The level of each team — recreation vs. travel — can also influence these decisions.
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Once the parents and player agree on how any conflicts are going to play out, both head coaches should be notified before the season even begins, not on a week-to-week basis. The coaches might be fine with the decisions or they might not. If not, the parents and player must be willing to accept any consequences the coaches implement. An example might be decreased playing time in a game if the practice before it is missed.
In today’s day and age, right, wrong or indifferent, it’s not unusual for kids to play on two teams in the same season. However, what is wrong is when there is no communication with the head coaches of the two teams involved.
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Parents should do the right thing and make sure the communication happens.
Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years, originally as a coach and board member with his now-adult son and most recently "just as a dad" with his 9- and 11-year-old sons. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.