Rules, Rules, Rules
In coaching a youth sport team there are many rules that need to be followed. Mostly to keep things fair, and ensure that each kid on the team has the ability to learn and appreciate the sport you are coaching and teaching them. I have done my fair share of coaching and one thing I always like to do is ensure that playing time is fair an equitable. In recent years I have noticed a trend where the rules at various levels actually dictate this, which is a great thing.
On our baseball team each player has to play at least 1 inning of infield and 1 inning of outfield to ensure everyone is getting fair playing time. In addition we want to make sure that the time on the bench is evenly distributed. Yes we want to win but we also want everyone to have fun and learn as well. You don’t learn much spending the entire season in right field in 9 year old baseball. To help with the games and to ensure that everyone knows where they need to be we needed a system. One of the coaches put a very simple Excel spreadsheet together with players down the rows and innings along the columns. This was a big step in the right direction, but took an exceptional amount of time to update each week. We wanted to move the batting order around, get playing time at different positions, etc.
The problem is that the amount of time and effort required to help coaching continues go up as more care and detail are required. As always with a more quality experience comes more effort. It’s simply not my nature to just spent more time, I want to find better way. So in doing so I now have a new favorite Excel function, countif(). I figured this out by asking my favorite Excel guru who sits just 2 rows away. This guy can do anything in Excel and I knew he would have the answer.
In the end what I did was very simple, essentially we have some tally columns to the right that count the number of times each kids has an Infield, Outfield, or is sitting. The function are a bit lenghtly but really quite simple. This could be expanded on but for us this was all we needed.
Infield =COUNTIF(C2:H2,”1B”)+COUNTIF(C2:H2,”2B”) +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”SS”) +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”3B”) + +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”P”) + +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”C”)
Outfield =COUNTIF(C2:H2,”CF”)+COUNTIF(C2:H2,”LF”) +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”RF”)
That’s pretty much it. Picture of what the sheet looks like below will give you an idea of how this works. I never new of the countif() function in Excel but new there had to be a way. So using my people skills I started asking the people I thought might have the answer and within a few seconds I have saved my self countless hours trying to get the lineup to tie out before each game. We actually use the Print Area function in excel to hid the right 4 columns so only the inning and players print. We print 5 copies before the game, post one on the dugout wall pegged in a clipboard and the coached get the rest. Simple method that works really well for our needs.
In addition we simply copy the last tab to a new tab before each game and we have a simple history of who played what positions in each game. This servers as good backup to when you are questioned on playing time. Simply refer to the history and make sure things are fair.