How to Talk To A Coach About Playing Time [Pro Tips For Parents & Players]

Ever caught that spark in your child’s eyes, the moment they step onto the field, their football boots gleaming under the sun, all geared up for the game?

Or perhaps you’ve felt that pulse of adrenaline yourself, the kind that makes your heart race with the prospect of proving your mettle on the football pitch.

I remember the first time I had to talk to a coach about playing time. There I was, a mix of nerves and determination, rehearsing my lines like I was about to step on stage rather than onto the grass. I just so desperately wanted some more minutes to get off the bench and strut my stuff.

Facing a coach, whether you’re lacing up your own boots or tying them for your mini-me, can be as daunting as facing a penalty kick in the final moments of a tie game. But it’s definitely a conversation worth having if that’s how you or your young player feels.

Open, heartfelt talks can offer new perspectives, strengthen the team and guarantee every player their moment to shine.

So, let’s lace up for this talk with a game plan that’s both heartfelt and strategic.

Whether you’re advocating for more pitch time for yourself or championing your young athlete, it’s about more than just securing those extra minutes. It’s about fostering teamwork, and nurturing a mutual respect that transcends the game.

Top Tips for Talking to Your Coach about Playing Time

1. Choose the Right Moment: Aim for a time when both you and the coach are not rushed or emotionally charged from recent games. Early before training or during a quiet moment can be ideal.

2. Find the Perfect Setting: Opt for a private, distraction-free environment where both of you can focus on the conversation without interruptions.

3. Be Clear and Direct: Start the conversation with a clear objective in mind. Show them your passion for more playing time and your willingness to work for it.

4. Use a Positive Tone: Approach the conversation with a positive and respectful tone, showing that you’re eager to contribute to the team’s success.

5. Ask for Feedback: Don’t just ask for more playing time; ask what you can do to earn it. Show that you value the coach’s input and are ready to act on their advice.

6. Be Prepared to Listen: Be open to hearing the coach’s perspective. Feedback, even if it’s not what you expected, is valuable for your growth.

7. Follow Up: After the conversation, take any feedback seriously and show improvement. A follow-up chat to discuss progress is also be a great idea.

8. Show Appreciation: Whatever the outcome, thank your coach for their time and feedback. Showing them you value their experience and support helps strengthen your relationship.

1. The Warm-Up – Getting Your Head in the Game

How to Talk To A Coach About Playing Time - women and girl football players warming up

Before tackling into that heart-to-heart with the coach, let’s do a little pre-chat prep, shall we?

Just like lacing up those boots doing those stretches, getting your mindset right is key. This part of the game is all about you, your role, and those awesome skills you’re ready to show off.

Your Role and Mindset

You’re not just any player (or parent of a player); you’re a key piece of a bigger puzzle.

It’s like being the secret ingredient that makes a good team great. It’s all about stepping up, being brave, and sharing your dreams and goals with your coach. It’s not just about wanting more time on the pitch; it’s about showing how pumped you are to make every minute count.

Knowing Your Strengths

Here’s where you shine! Think about what makes you (or your little superstar) special.

Is it that unstoppable energy, a killer kick, or maybe a strategic mind that can read the game like a pro? CoachUp Nation reminds us that it’s not about being a copycat of the player next to you. It’s about owning your unique strengths and letting your coach know exactly how you can use them to help the team shine even brighter.

Expert insights

“Being sidelined isn’t a setback; it’s a chance to showcase your dedication. Show up for every practice, without fail, demonstrating your resilience and commitment. It’s this unwavering presence that makes you indispensable, convincing your coach you’re ready for more than just the bench.”

Mia Johnson, Fitness Expert & Football Coach

2. The Game Plan – Initiating the Conversation

How to Talk To A Coach About Playing Time - woman coach stands alone on the pitch

Now that we’re all warmed up and ready, it’s time to talk strategy—how to actually have that conversation with the coach. It’s like planning to score the perfect goal; timing and approach are everything.

Timing and Setting

Imagine trying to discuss game tactics in the middle of a chaotic locker room post-match—probably not the best idea, right?

Super coach and sports psychologist Rick Wolff reminds us that finding the right moment and setting is crucial. It’s about ensuring the coach’s full attention without any distractions.

Think of it like choosing the perfect spot on the pitch before taking a free kick. You want clarity, focus, and the best possible outcome.

Pick a time when emotions from a recent game aren’t still flying high—maybe before training, or you could set up a meeting during a calm, quiet moment. The goal is to create a space where you can share your thoughts openly and the coach can give you their whole attention.

Conversation Starter For Players

“Coach, I’ve been really focused on my development and contributing more to the team. I’d love to get your feedback on my performance and discuss any areas you think I could improve. I’m keen to understand how I can earn more playing time and help the team succeed.”

This approach shows a desire for growth and contribution to the team’s success, signaling your willingness to work hard and your openness to constructive feedback.

Communication Skills

When talking to your coach, being clear, honest, and straightforward is key. Don’t make it all about you or your child, let them know you’re coming from a place of genuine desire to contribute more to the team.

This approach is not just about asking for more time; it’s about showing you’re willing to work for it and value their feedback. It’s about teamwork, both on and off the pitch. That’s what football is all about.

Conversation Starter For Parents

“Hi Coach, we’ve noticed how much effort and dedication [Child’s Name] has been putting into their soccer practice and games. We appreciate the positive environment you’ve created for the team. We were wondering if we could discuss [Child’s Name]‘s current role and how they might be able to contribute more during games. It would be great to understand your perspective and any areas [Child’s Name] could focus on to grow as a player.”

This starter is crafted to show respect for the coach’s expertise and role while expressing a collaborative interest in the child’s development and participation. It also opens up a dialogue for constructive feedback without placing blame or demanding more playtime outright.

Keep in mind it’s a dialogue, not a monologue. It’s a two-way street so be ready to listen as much as you talk.

Feedback is a goldmine for growth, so be open to what your coach has to say, even if it’s not exactly what you were hoping to hear.

This conversation could be a game-changer, paving the way for more minutes on the clock and, more importantly, showing your coach and teammates your dedication to the game and to improvement.

Watch & Learn: How to Talk To Your Coach About Playing Time

Here’s a great video tutorial from the pros at Unisport who talk about tips and things you can do to show your coach you deserve more playing time in your football team.

3. Team Spirit – Cheering for Team Success

How to Talk To A Coach About Playing Time - womens football team showing team spirit

Alright, let’s jump into the heart of what makes a team more than just a bunch of players running around a field.

It’s all about that team spirit, that shared pulse that beats stronger when we’re all in sync. This part? It’s all about being that teammate everyone roots for, and trust me, it’s a game-changer.

Being a Team Player

Imagine football without the teamwork—just doesn’t click, right? Being a team player is like being part of a well-choreographed dance on the pitch.

Every move, every play is smoother and more powerful because you’re all in it together.

CoachUp Nation tells us that embracing your team’s success, celebrating every goal and save like they’re your own, really shows your coach and teammates your heart is in the game.

It’s not just about playing time; it’s about playing right, together. This kind of attitude? It can seriously boost how your coach and teammates see you, opening up more opportunities for you on the pitch.

Expert insights

“To be the ultimate team, you must use your body and your mind. Draw up on the resources of your teammates. Remember, only teams succeed.”

José Mourinho on teamwork

4. Patience and Persistence – Staying the Course

How to Talk To A Coach About Playing Time - women football subtitutes on the bench

OK, a chat with your coach won’t always go your way. This section is your pep talk for those moments when the path seems a bit longer than you expected. Let’s dive in with the same spirit and gusto we’ve brought to the rest of this playbook.

Patience is Key

You’re working hard, showing up, giving your all, and yet, the minutes you crave on the field still aren’t coming as fast as you’d hoped.

It’s like you’re stuck on the bench, watching the clock tick down. I’ve been there. I remember a season where, no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to break into the starting lineup. It was frustrating, to say the least.

But here’s what I learned: patience is more than just waiting. It’s about keeping the fire alive, refining your skills, and staying ready for when your moment comes. Because it will come. Think of it as the time between your current reality and your next big break. Use it wisely, stay dedicated, and keep pushing your limits.

Quick Tips for Parents: Sparking Positivity

  1. Spotlight on Learning: Cheer every pass, dribble, or play they learn—every moment’s a lesson, not just the matches.
  2. High-Fives for Team Love: Remind them cheering for pals is as cool as scoring goals.
  3. Dream Big Together: Set mini-goals for skills, like nailing a new dribble. Celebrate big when they do!
  4. Applause for Effort: Show them love for trying hard, not just for the trophy moments.
  5. Heroes’ Journeys: Chat about football stars who overcame tough times. Makes for great bedtime stories!
  6. Talk It Out: Nudge them to chat with the coach about playing more. Practice the convo over cookies.
  7. Find the Silver Lining: Help them see every bench moment as a chance to grow stronger and smarter.

Expert insights

“Whatever brings you down will eventually make you stronger.”

Alex Morgan on being resilient

Handling Decisions

Dealing with the coach’s decisions is not always easy, especially when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for. But you can look at every decision as a chance to grow.

If the coach says, “Not yet,” take it as a challenge. Ask for specific feedback and work on it. Transform disappointment into determination.

Remember, how you respond to these moments defines not just the player you are, but the person you are becoming. Use any outcome as fuel, a reason to double down on your efforts and prove that you have what it takes, both in skills and spirit.

Quick Tips for Players: Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

  1. Mirror, Mirror: Give yourself a pep talk. What’s working? What’s next on the improve-list?
  2. Goal-Getters: Pick a skill, any skill. Work it, nail it, do a victory dance.
  3. Feedback is Your Friend: Brave enough to ask the coach, “How can I get better?” You got this.
  4. Cheer Squad: Be the biggest fan of your teammates. Your turn will come.
  5. Mind Over Matter: Football’s a brain game too. Practice staying cool and seeing the play before it happens.
  6. Always Ready: Keep your boots tied tight. You never know when the coach will call your name.
  7. Celebrate the Little Things: Mastered a new move? That’s a high-five moment. Keep stacking those wins.

“I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.”

Mia Hamm on showing continuous effort and passion

5. The Victory Lap – Reflect and Move Forward

How to Talk To A Coach About Playing Time - women football players on the pitch

And just like that, we’ve navigated through the playbook of talking about playing time, from warming up for the conversation to staying the course with patience and persistence.

Don’t forget that the true essence of sports goes beyond just the minutes on the clock or the score at the end of the game. It’s about the journey, the growth, and the lessons learned along the way.

So, to every athlete and every supportive parent on this journey, keep that spark of ambition burning bright. Maintain a positive attitude, stay fully engaged in the process, and relentlessly pursue your goals.

The path to getting more playing time is paved with dedication, teamwork, and an unwavering commitment to personal and collective growth. Your time is coming!

Found a way to talk to your coach that scores just right for you? Tell us about it! Tag us on Instagram @kitqueensoccer or Facebook and share your top football tips with our community. For more insights and updates on the latest in football gear, check out our Football Gear Reviews.

Research review icon kitqueen

Our Research & Review Process

At KitQueen, our goal is to bring you the most comprehensive and trustworthy recommendations in the world of football.

We’re not just spectators; we’re players in the research game. We study the latest scientific findings and football journals to give you insights grounded in solid evidence. But it’s not all about the stats and data. We also gather real-life experiences and opinions from football enthusiasts, coaches, professional bodies and of course, actual players.

Our hands-on approach extends to the field. We don’t just read about football gear; we test it. We try out boots, shirts, and equipment on the pitch, assessing their performance in real match conditions across various playing styles and skill levels.

This detailed and active approach allows us to kick you the truth about which products really live up to their hype.

Remember, the right gear can make a significant difference in your game. But always consider personal preferences and playing style before making your choice.

This article was written & reviewed by

  • Anna Adams, Creative Director & Content Lead

    Hi there! I'm Anna Adams, your go-to source for all things women's football. I've been crazy about football for over 20 years, ever since I was kicking a ball around with my brothers as a kid. I've turned my passion into a career where I get to share all the cool stuff about football with you. As a content lead, I've had the awesome opportunity to work with various sports brands and publications. Whether it's the latest gear, pro tips, or just some cool football trivia, I'm all about making f...

  • Mia Johnson, Fitness Expert & Football Coach

    Hello! I'm Mia, a high school Physical Education teacher in Surrey, UK by day and a football blog contributor by night. My journey with football began just like any other enthusiastic player - on a local field, chasing after a ball and dreaming big. Football became my way to teach, inspire, and connect with others. In the classroom (and on the field), I'm all about promoting fitness, teamwork, and the pure joy of sports. Writing for the blog lets me extend this passion to a wider audienc...